Tuesday, 4 September 2018

THE ORCISH BATTLE HYMNS


Band: URUK HAI 
Title: The Orcish Battle Hymns
Format: This is the 4 x cassette tape pressing of the compilation, released in December 2012 by the Steel Blazes Records label (Russia), cat ref SBR 19.  Each package of 4 tapes came wrapped in a brown paper parcel, hand-wrapped with string and in cellophane, with a cover sticker on the outside.
Edition: 30 copies only


Track Listing:
Tape 1: Chapter I 
Side A
01. Intro (Orcish Battle Hymns)  1.36 
02. Thangorodrim  3.15 
03. Shadow Of The Orcs  6.13 
04. Ea (The Secret Fire)  17.59 
Side B
05. The Dragonslayer  13.20 
06. The Trees Of Kortition  4.40 
07. Battle March (Outro)  1.31 
08. March Or Die (rehearsal, Motorhead cover)  4.01
09. Over Old Hills (Summoning cover)  9.06


Tape 2: Chapter II 
Side A
01. Awaken The Dragon  3.12 
02. Deep Dark Forest  2.50 
03. Mithrandir  5.32 
04. Kampf Und Krieg  3.37 
05. Battle Signs  2.47 
06. Gollum  2.30 
07. Thousand Lightnings Strike  2.43 
08. Menegroth  2.47 
09. The Unknown  5.30 
10. Durins Halls  5.20 
11. Dark Riders  5.46 
12. Varg-Riders  1.50 
Side B
13. Eternity  3.37 
14. Battle Magic  21.44 
15. Shadow Of The Orcs  5.23 
16. May It Be  3.10 
17. Bell Tower (Kitaro cover)  3.17
18. May It Be (Enya cover)  3.09
19. I En Svart Kiste (Satyricon cover)  4.58


Tape 3: Chapter III 
Side A
01. Ancient Pride  21.22 
02. Black Mountain River  20.27 
Side B
03. Mount Doom  20.47 
04. Mettanye  7.42 
05. Hermodr A Helferd (Burzum cover)  2.53 
06. Morning Soul (live rehearsal, Absurd cover)  3.16
07. Theology / Civilization (Basil Poledouris cover)  0.57
08. Anvil Of Crom (Basil Poledouris cover)  5.56

Tape 4: Chapter IV 
Side A
01. After The War  44.24 
Side B
02. Quenta Silmarillion (1999)  44.57 


Here we have the tape version of a rather nice compilation of the “Orcish Battle Hymn” series of tapes releases that were put out on various labels between 2000 and 2009.  There’s also a CDr pressing of this release, but for the purposes of today’s post we’ll focus solely on the cassette version if you don’t mind.

As you’ll be able to see from the pictures, Nazgul’s copy is currently unopened and will probably remain so as it’s really rather splendid all done up with string, and past efforts on other releases to reassemble such packaging after opening usually end up looking like a dog’s breakfast.  The shot of the interior contents is – as you will now have gleaned – taken from the Web.


And, of course, the contents are for the most-part familiar from the original tapes releases from back in the day anyway.


What is rather fun about this compilation though, aside from the natty new artwork, are the bonus tracks seamlessly stitched into the various chapters.  Some are taken from other releases – for example, in the case of the Basil Poledouris covers, or that Buzum track on ‘Chapter III’ which comes from the “~2~” split release with Vinterriket – and others are fairly obscure treasures that you’d be doing well to recall (take Kitaro’s ‘Bell Tower’ as a good example of that, which stems from the semi-legendary “First Evil Spell” CDr from way back in the day


There’s also a couple of rare gems in this horde of Orcish treasures, notably the Satyricon cover on ‘Chapter II’ and the Absurd cover on ‘Chapter III’.  Indeed, the latter reminds Nazgul of an entire post that was drafted and never published on this most storied of bands, but that’s probably something for another day/year depending on a multitude of complicated factors.  Or maybe it’s fate is as a ‘bonus’ page in the long-pondered coffee table spectacular that would be an Honour and Darkness hardback book…

In any event, Steel Blazes only released 30 of these compilations and inevitably they are long sold and lost to history (though there is at least one up for sale on Discogs, and no – before you cry shameless self-promotion – I’m not the one selling it).  It was by some margin the most interesting and stylish release on this Russian label before they seemed to disappear back in circa 2015.  For your delight and further information, a copy of the original flyer for this release is shown below:
 

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