Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Title: The Ashes Of Battle
Format: A split CD release with ambient project Balrog (France), released in October 2015 on the Vibrio Cholerae Records label (Ukraine), cat ref VHR326.  The album comes with a picture disc, colour paper inlay all housed inside a plastic wallet.
Edition: 66 unnumbered copies

Track Listing:
Uruk Hai
01. Eagles  11.07
02. Elbenklang  14.26
03. Spirit Of Fire  3.46
04. Wild Warriors  5.10
05. Eye Of Smaug  4.29
06. Grey Heavens (Summoning cover song)  1.51
07. Outgoing Of Flames  4.39

There are, at the very least, 5 very good reasons why this split CD should be sitting in your burgeoning collection of all things Hugin:

(1) The introduction to 'Eagles' - a shimmering piano piece amidst swirling winds, reminiscent of earlier Hrefnesholt ambient wind effects - is quite possibly the most beautiful thing ever recorded by Uruk Hai

(2) The pair of Uruk Hai songs provide more Middle-Earth bang-for-your-buck than many a full length album from lesser artistes, and offer plenty to enjoy over their lengthy durations

(3) Balrog - a new act to Nazgul - not only have the great sense to sound a little like legendary band Wongraven in places (particularly on 'Wild Warriors'), but also give us a cover song from equally legendary act Summoning too.

(4) The sampling of Smaug from "The  Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" at track five is a stroke of genius, which should be repaid with untold wealth and good fortune for whoever had the bright idea to do it.

(5) It's a thing of beauty and wonder, from the artwork to the picture disc to the content.

Vibrio Cholerae Records are responsible for putting this little gem into the world, and thanks to the wonders of the Internet I can tell you that they are a small underground label, running since 2011, oriented on Lo-Fi, Noise, Drone, Ambient, and Experimental sounds: mostly in raw, harsh and ever primitive form of sound. Their releases come in various familiar forms: cd, cd-r, audio cassettes, vinyl, as well as in some non-standard including floppy diskettes, VHS cassettes, 2-inch reels, 8-track tape etc.

As far as Nazgul can tell, their parent label is Depressive Illusions, who will be familiar to most of us who have been buying ambient releases online over the years!

In a very small edition of 66 copies only, this has probably flown in billowing sheets of fire off the shelves of distributors and online shops worldwide.  However, Nazgul has learned that a cassette version may yet follow, so all is not lost if you failed to secure your copy first time around.

Great things should befall Balrog if the rest of their output is anything like this, and as we know great things have already befallen Uruk Hai for precisely the same reasons!

As Xavier Russell, Kerrang! journalist of yore, used to say: "Buy-Or-Die!"

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