Uruk-Hai / Funeral Fornication
Hypnotic Dirge Records
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.