Burzum
Uruk Hai (Unreleased Material 1988-1994)


2.3
average

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
June 5th, 2021 | 32 replies


Release Date: 06/04/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uruk Hai is an artefact that will resonate with only the most hardcore Burzum fans.

It was only through following the curious little Burzum Museum Instagram page that I came to know of Uruk Hai’s existence. The story behind the release isn’t shrouded in an exciting tale, and honestly, the music contained within is even less exciting. Of course, at the time of Uruk Hai’s official, physical-only announcement (no digital version has, as yet, been planned), my interest understandably piqued at the prospect of hearing more Burzum music from the golden era of the band, 1988-1994. However, that excitement was firmly quashed by the time I got around to hearing Uruk Hai. The record is essentially an EP split; the first half of the record contains four tracks from Uruk Hai, the name of the project before it was permanently penned Burzum, and a telling indicator the first half of the record comes from the former half of the specified time frame. The latter half of the record, I assume, comes from recordings Varg had produced while he was in prison, preceding Varg’s shift into dungeon-synth territories. This all converged onto one tape where it was sent, by Varg, to Misanthropy Records and subsequently landed in the owner of Burzum Museum’s lap. It was put up onto Youtube in 2019 as a low-quality rip, with an intermittent dinging sound heard throughout to prevent bootlegs. However, it has now been given a proper release with its intended sound quality.

Up until this review I hadn’t heard the Youtube rip, so I didn’t have any preconceived ideas on what this would actually sound like, but essentially the record boils down to being a collection of fragmented song ideas that don’t amount to much of anything. “Prologue” certainly sets the mood, and it had me rubbing my hands together over its dank poignancy, but the tracks that follow are so thin in substance it’s hard to overlook the record as being anything other than a collection of arbitrary jam sessions being recorded in the background. My wife summed up Uruk Hai perfectly by saying, “This sounds like Varg trying to be John 5, only he doesn't have a thumbnail of John's virtuosity.” Indeed, 85% of this sounds like sloppy shredding without focus. That’s not to say there aren’t a few redeeming factors from this though: “Prologue”, “Hoddmimisholt” and “Epilogue” aren’t as myopic as their thrash-y guitar track counterparts, and they do display some of the alluring ambient qualities Burzum’s earlier works are so well known for.

If nothing else as well, it was quite enjoyable distinguishing which songs came from which era. “Odinns Daudr” is so clearly a part of the early-nineties Burzum zeitgeist, while “Total Destruction” and “Blood-Red Scimitars” feel juxtaposed with juvenility in comparison. And I suppose, with a release like this, that’s the intended purpose; Uruk Hai is an artefact that will resonate with only the most hardcore Burzum fans. For me it lacks purpose, and with there being no vocals or other instruments on this bar the guitar, it’s hard to appreciate the music on offer here, other than those broody effect-lathered guitar tracks. But I guess its appeal comes from knowing that “Prologue” was the first song Varg had ever written, or hearing ideas that would become more fleshed out in later years, that make it worth spinning for curiosity’s sake. In regards to the audio quality, this version is obviously the way to go if you're wanting to check Uruk Hai out – as it doesn’t have the *ding* effect over the tracks, and you’re getting the full audio quality – however, considering its limited availability in this condition, it will all depend on your fandom for the band and whether you’re willing to shell out money on these rather insignificant tracks.

FORMAT//EDITIONS:
CD//VINYL

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://www.black-metal-vendor.com/product_info.php?products_id=6341



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user ratings (12)
2.4
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Azog
June 5th 2021


627 Comments


Not really a Burzum fan, mostly because of the nazi bullshit. However, the quality of his early output can't be denied, which makes this one interesting enough for looking into, if only for historical reasons.

Digging: Skepticism - Companion

BookoftheFallen
June 5th 2021


755 Comments


Orcs and Uruk hai dont get along, do they Azog?

Brabiz
June 5th 2021


1617 Comments


Album art is cool

Digging: Pupil Slicer - Mirrors

Azog
June 5th 2021


627 Comments


Don't get me started on the subject of dwarves...

BookoftheFallen
June 5th 2021


755 Comments


Where are all the female dwarves?

Azog
June 5th 2021


627 Comments


Down here, sucking my balls. Why? ;-)

garas
Contributing Reviewer
June 5th 2021


6708 Comments


At least "Hoddmimisholt" is a great ambient track, I loved that atmosphere.

So, how much is the exact difference between this and the YouTube video in terms of quality? I wish this would have been released on tape... getting it on vinyl seemed way too costy. It is just a demo, after all.

Digging: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence BBC 6Music...

Pho3nix
June 5th 2021


1202 Comments


I'll need to czech this - not on Spotify yet though ;_____

Album art slays indeed

CaliggyJack
June 5th 2021


8045 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah as a Burzum fan can't say there is anything interesting on here...

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2021


17279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

@garas



Audio quality is good, a lot brighter, punchier, etc. Also not worth the cost for vinyl, there’s not a lot of material here. If anything, the new baldrs release has a lot more going for it. Rawer production and the three bonus tracks are really interesting

Digging: Propagandhi - Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes (reissue)

Eons
June 5th 2021


3333 Comments


I'm a big fan of his ambient stuff, his prison albums and later ambient work. Find it super underappreciated by metalheads. But understandably, I guess, it's not their thing. I think if you like dungeon synth though you would be right at home with those albums like I am.

Digging: King Diamond - ''Them''

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2021


17279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

I enjoy his ambient stuff a lot too, but there’s that awkward period where he tries to do both at the same time (umskiptar/fallen) and those records really aren’t good haha.

Pho3nix
June 6th 2021


1202 Comments


Umskiptar is such a gem though. He is surprisingly good at spoken-word.

DadKungFu
June 6th 2021


1307 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is, huh...wow

Eons
June 6th 2021


3333 Comments


umskiptar is a beautiful album, one of my favorite burzum albums the melodies and the beautiful guitar work. Idk how someone couldn't see the emotion in that album.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2021


42883 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I appreciate this tbh

Digging: Lali Puna - Scary World Theory

Eons
June 8th 2021


3333 Comments


yeah some of it is good and some is obviously just him finding his way with the songs, but that's kind of what its supposed to be anyway, since its almost like outtakes or something

Meridiu5
June 8th 2021


3714 Comments


Audio quality is good, a lot brighter, punchier, etc. Also not worth the cost for vinyl, there’s not a lot of material here. If anything, the new baldrs release has a lot more going for it. Rawer production and the three bonus tracks are really interesting

daudi baldrs remaster?

where!??

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Eons
June 8th 2021


3333 Comments


i'd be intersted in that as well love those albums, tho i know many don't lol. he rerecorded one of the songs (title track Daudi Baldrs I believe) for his Belus album, and made it into a black metal version

Atari
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2021


26976 Comments


"the most hardcore Burzum fans."

do these even exist?

Digging: Emily Scott Robinson - American Siren



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