HDR - 015 : Uruk-Hai/Funeral Fornication - Split Album
Released: September 19th, 2010
Details: Pro-CDr 4 Page Booklet - 100 copies Genre: Epic Ambient Black Metal/Depressive Ambient Black Metal
From: Defiance Webzine
One of a few split albums released on Hypnotic Dirge Records, The latest by bands Uruk-Hai and Funeral Fornication was a surprising choice.
The 8 track album ( 4 tracks by each band respectively) is full of contrast on many levels, the first one being the style of music. I was pleasantly surprised by Urut-Hai as I had not previously heard of them only to find myself engrossed in a style of music that is long forgotten. Music that is inspired on so many levels, if you love your war inspired classical sounding pieces then the first part of this album is for you.
Beautifully produced to a high standard it's almost like a musical play starting with "Orcish Battle Hymn" or if you like the procession into war then "March to War" and then we finish with "Death is Just Another Path" and my favourite piece by Uruk-Hai "Cirith Ungol". It might be different from the previous 3 but it's a nice touch, almost like peace has broken out and now the happy ending with growling vocals thrown in and some very interesting musical elements. These 4 tracks are like a beautifully written sonnet to my ears, I could sit here for hours and listen to it over and over. It's a breath of fresh air and for my ears it's also a sound of fresh air.
The second half of the album by Funeral Fornication sees them returning to the Black/doom metal growling and prowling with "The Weeping Tree" with the catchy guitar riff leading you astray from yourself and into something completely different such as "Stargates Eternal Holds My Nightmares" with the harpsichord adding another dimension to this track and all I can say is Funeral Fornication really haven't lost their touch with tracks like "Chamber Below the Abyss" and "The Keep". The music really is a contrasting and complimentary on so many levels.
Here you have an album, 2 different styles and it's on 1 CD! These 2 bands really compliment each other well, You have Black/doom metal and you have epic war style music, what more could you possibly ask for on a split album like this?
Reviewer: Acid Angel
From: Alternativ Musik
***Originally published in German. This is a (poorly) translated version using google translater.
Long it will last no longer appear until the new album by the Canadian Black Metal project Funeral Fornication is. As a prelude to this, there will be before that, a split album with the Austrian project Uruk-Hai, on which both bands, each with four songs will be represented, with both projects a beautiful contrasts of form to one another: one nasty black metal and even bombastic neoclassical on the Tolkien universe, with both on a CD may sound strange initially, but ultimately both are referred to as managed must.
We start with Uruk-Hai and present majestic melodies that give you the feeling of calm before the storm, but the black metal elements rarely heard, and then in the form of screaming and very quiet riffs, the other between the grandiose arrangements only on closer listening noticeable. The bottom line creates the Austrian project a successful first half, especially the ambient piece Death is just another pathWhich begins quietly and then really gets going, has a particular appeal, which is due to the choruses that give the whole a religious atmosphere.
The second part will then continue with the Canadian project Funeral Fornication - and convert them to very different paths: first heard the already known The Weeping Tree from the last album, the feeling is right to stand in a hurricane, while everything collapses around you. The other songs are ice cold Black Metal, usually turns painfully slow, sometimes fast and brutal, which gives one a feeling of back-and-Hergerissenseins. Remarkably, some traditional metal elements in the form of guitar riffs, reminiscent of NWOBHM that one of the project so far was not used.
A total of eight songs from two projects that will create both create an impressive atmosphere. Plays martial, sometimes cold, dark and dirty, but every time perfectly arranged, what makes this split to a successful publication.
Reviewer: Tristan Osterfeld
From: Lunar Hypnosis Blogspot
Since 1999, Hugin the mastermind behind Austrian battle ambient band Uruk-Hai has released an astonishing twenty five demos, thirty one split releases, fifteen full-length albums as well as several singles and best of compilations placing him as pretty much the most prolific music maker out there. You'd need some serious loot to own all of these recordings.
Personally my first experience with Uruk-Hai was about four years ago when I came across his, 'The Battle' full-length at a second hand store, and a few years ago his split with Symbiosis appeared in my mailbox for review, but besides that I haven't heard any other releases.
This being his most recent release I can see that musically and conceptually (Tolkien/high fantasy stuff) not much has changed within Hugin's style, although the synths on this release surely do sound better than that album from five years ago. The music as I briefly mentioned is basically bombastic ambient/neo classical music with Hugin's screams and samples from the Lord of the Rings movies with the closest comparison being Polish project Blakagir. Of course not all of Hugin's material has been in this style as some records are more strictly neo classical in character while as I understand it the earliest material was cheap Casio/midi Burzum style ambient. In the end this is definitely the best of the three recordings I've heard from Uruk-Hai, but I suppose if you've followed the band in recent years then don't expect anything different here.
After the fourth song we move onto Funeral Fornication, which is the solo project of Vultyrous from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Although initiated as a thrash/black metal project back in 2003 with two albums under his belt, by 2008 Vultyrous took his music within the realm of depressive black metal and thus far released one album titled, 'Solitude and Suicide' with 'Pandemic Transgression' coming out in 2011 through Hypnotic Dirge Records.
I have no experience with any of Vultyrous' previous four albums, but one thing is for sure and that is quite simply that this is first rate depressive black metal music. What makes this work is simply the fact that it's depressive in character. The legions of other bands in this genre completely forget that depressing music needs atmosphere, it needs to be dark sounding, it needs to sound fucking depressing! As well personally I think this sort of music needs more than just a buzzing pulse for the guitar, but almost all bands within this genre opted for noise rather than riffs. Fortunately Vultyrous knows what he's doing as these four songs have synths that are drenched with a desperate misery of utter despair while the guitar work features various dark haunting riffs that only enhance the mood further plus the harsh screams sound like a soul truly in pain.
All four songs from FF are quite exceptional, though the unexpected sounding, 'Chamber Below the Abyss' stands out as a favorite since with the slow bass guitar work, light percussion, spoken voices and ghostly cemetery synths make it not really a metal song, but just simply an overwhelming atmospheric masterpiece.
In the end I'm quite satisfied with Funeral Fornication's songs on this split and greatly look forward to his next album, while Uruk-Hai is Uruk-Hai on this album. It's an interesting split, but perhaps its because of the highly different sounds that the whole thing works out.
Reviewer: Joe Mlodik
From: Nocturnal Cult Webzine
This is a split album with two personalities, one, epic orchestral ambience from Austria's Uruk-Hai and the other, atmospheric black metal from the Canadian wastelands with Funeral Fornication.
Up first are four tracks of Tolkein themed ambient music from Uruk-Hai. A pounding tribal beat repeats its racing line against a frolicking violin melody for Orcish Battle Hymn. A darker pounding beat cracks like thunder as March To War begins. Samples of Saruman commanding his legions into battle drift into this victorious and inspiring song of horns and thunderous drums. A ghostly voice snakes its way through the song. Light melodies break like dawn across Death Is Just Another Path and Gandolf's wisdom spills forth in samples across the song's landscape. If possible, the drums become even more forceful as the song explodes like a cavalry charge during its more powerful movements. However angelic choirs dance lightly upon the song's moments of stillness. Finally Cirith Ungol unites peaceful piano and warming horns while they hover above a battlefield of clanging steel and acidic black metal shrieks. The shrieks continue as insistent beats and crystalline xylophone chimes through the darkness.
Then the second half is underground black metal, steeped in atmosphere and primitive destruction. A repetitive and methodical beat supports morose atmospheric black metal on The Weeping Tree. Riffs create barren textures while they are paired with slowly swaying synth passages. A mournful melody and romantic synth create a vampyric feel to Stargates Eternal Beheld My Nightmares. I still really wish Funeral Fornication would get a REAL drummer as it stands out during the cymbal rides on this track. Chamber Below The Abyss begins with haunting and sharp guitar notes slicing down from the stars. The song creeps along at an eerie pace, keeping its true form concealed until deep, horrific vocals drift in like creaking wood in a haunted mansion. The whole song is nebular in shape and disturbing in effect. Finally Funeral Fornication's half is brought to a close as he delivers a pagan epic of clean vocalled Viking chants during a Solstice cover song, The Keep.
I am not sure how cohesively themed this release is, Uruk-Hai is grand and pompous whereas Funeral Fornication is feral and despondent.
Reviewer: Bradley Smith
Check this out - Uruk-Hai, Elisabetha, Folkearth, Hrossharsgrani, Hrefnesholt, Ravenclaw (Ltu), Raben Nacht, Walpurgi, Manwe, Heimatleid, Bonemachine (now know as B-Machina), Ceremony of Innocence, Wach, Solid Grey, Drachenfeuer, Schlaganfall, After Aids, Guts for Dinner and Eismond. Close to 40 demos, around 30 split albums, about a dozen full length albums, 6 EP's, countless singles and a 6 CD box set. This is the staggering resume of ambient musician Hugin, real name Alex Wieser. His main band though is Uruk-Hai, the name is a reference to an advanced breed of orcs from J.R.R. Tolkien''s Lord of the Rings trilogy. This man is the most prolific songwriter, musician in the world that I have ever heard of and he is showing no signs of slowing down either. Hugin plays all instruments as well as all the electronics and programming on most of his releases including this split with Canada's Funeral Fornication, a depressive black metal band that has is the work of one man also, Vultyrous. Funeral Fornication started out as a pagan/thrash/black metal act but changed its style towards depressive black metal when it signed with Hypnotic Dirge Records in Early 2009.
This split album starts off with Uruk-Hai in a total Tolkien, fantasy based concept. A theme that this musician has kept going through most, if not all of his releases. Musically it is blackened, ambient doomy stuff blended with neo-classical influences, it is bombastic yet kind of nerdy music and I say that with all due respect as I actually like most of it. Because of his incredible recording output, I have only heard a small part of what he has done but I can tell this is a huge step-up from what he was doing a few years ago. The production is much better, the songs have more direction and dynamics but it still an acquired taste. This is the kind of music you either love or hate or have to be in the mood for. There is a lot of screaming going on and samples from the Lord of the Rings movies so it is an odd blend of different elements but somehow it all works. I can't really see myself listening to this too often but I also find it intriguing material but it is something you have to judge for yourself. No amount of reviews is truly going to tell the story here.
Funeral Fornication is different again but doesn't sound out-of-place next to Uruk-Hai. This is very depressive, bleak black metal that is soaked in doom and gloom. One thing it has in common with Uruk-Hai is the synths, both bands rely pretty heavily on that sound for the atmospherics. Here they are blended with sickly, depressing guitar riffs with abrasive, harsh vocals but it all sounds kind of the same till you get to one song called "Chamber Below The Abyss" which is the only track that breaks the usual formula. It is the only track not really blackened metal but it also one of the best tracks on the entire split for the incredibly dark atmosphere. Overall, I am very impressed with this release from Hypnotic Dirge Records. One of their better releases of the last year
From: Funeral March Magazine
www.myspace.com/funeralmarchzine Published: Funeral March Magazine; Issue #7
First out on this split is Uruk-Hai and this is the first I hear of this band even though I have known about them before. This one man band have released a shitload of demos and records but I have not heard anything before. Anyway; It is not hard to realize what concept Uruk-Hai has... Tolkien is a big inspiration here. The music is ambient, like a soundtrack to one of the “Lord Of The Rings” movies. It is all very well made and sounds really good. Even though I expected something in the vain of black metal it is nice to hear this but it sure takes a certain mood to enjoy it.
Next is Funeral Fornication and the sound have now changed to black metal. It starts of good with rather atmospheric heavy black metal. The second song is not as good as the first, there is a disturbing noise in the beginning (maybe it can be called a “drum sound”...) but it gets better later on. The next track is also good but the first one is still the best one. The variation of the songs though is extraordinary. The last song is a “church like” choir song that ends in a more raw sounding song, sounds rather brilliant in my ears.
From: Pest Webzine
Uruk-Hai is an Austrian one-man-project with an insane number of releases out, more than 100! Yes, this is one of those projects that release as many materials as possible. Only owning its discography and no other, you can be considered a big Ambient Music collector. The music on Uruk-Hai's side is actually better than I would have expected, although not even near a masterpiece of the genre. Keyboard based, Uruk-Hai's music is, of course, inspired by LotR, even the movie cuts are from LotR, but the whole sounds more a preparation for the actual music, you feel like ok, something's gonna happen now, but nothing does really. Better said this is like a prelude to the actual music, even if this is, in fact, the music. Good and interesting, but not complete; better than a lot of other such projects though.
Funeral Fornication is a one-man-project as well. Founded in 2003, it release 4 full-length albums, 2 of them on Hypnotic Dirge. Unlike Uruk-Hai, Funeral Fornication is a Black Metal project, or better said a mid-paced Black Metal project with strong Dark Ambient influences and even some Doom Metal additions here and there, especially on guitars. The music has a deep depressive atmosphere surrounding it, and also a deep underground feeling when it somes to sound. What I like the most in its music are the cold, dark and sinistre keyboard intros and also some guitar lines, but on the whole I cannot say I was too impressed with Funeral Fornication's side. With a better sound quality this music could have a better impact.