Jul 13, 2010

Uruk-Hai - Elbentraum

Most projects with names taken from Tolkien’s books, maybe except for some black metal bands, are pretty cheesy. At least from the ones I’ve heard. The website promoting this album made it sound pretty interesting, and because I like both ambient and Tolkien’s writings I thought I would give it a try.

The first few seconds of this album gave me hope for something decent, but unfortunately my hopes left me after the first track progressed. It is cheesy indeed, and not really in the fun way. The music sounds a bit amateurish, like the soundtracks of early fantasy games. Pretty random sounds, bells tinkling and the “epic” and dramatic sound was not a good sign for the rest of the album.

The next two tracks are on a pretty similar level with some surprising moments, like the fast beat on Baggins for example. It all doesn’t sound so bad, but kind of like the producer forced himself to make a “fantasy”” sounding album forgetting about how the tracks sound as a whole.

As the album goes on the situation gets a little better. Song of the Ainur is decent and finally sounds like a complete track. The last track saves the album a little. It’s twenty four minutes and by far the calmest, closest to ambient on the album. It has a pretty nice atmosphere that gets a little spoiled by the tinkling again, but it’s still the best here. Overall the second part of the album is better, but not by much.

I have to say I am disappointed by this release. I was hoping for something much darker, with tracks sounding complete and well thought out. Instead we get pretty lame music, trying too hard to sound adventurous and epic. Instead of creating an atmosphere reminiscent of Tolkien’s world which it was obviously aiming at, it makes you imagine Middle Earth as a world with candy trees and pink rivers. The only time I can see myself listening to it again is as a background for an old Warcraft game or something similar. The producer behind this would be good for making soundtracks for games, only if the music is a bit calmer, more ambient and gloomy.

From what I have read Uruk-Hai’s albums vary a lot. Some can be great and some very poor. Maybe this wasn’t his best effort, but there is definitely some decent qualities here and there. When his next album comes out I will give it a try just to see how it sounds and maybe my opinion might change, but after this I will not be expecting much.

Final grade: 3/10

Pros: 90s game soundtrack music

Cons: Over the top dramatic, cheesy

1. Elbentraum
2. Laurelin
3. Baggins
4. Song Of The Ainur
5. The Mirror
6. Uruk-Hai Part 6
7. Hobbiton
8. The Glory Of A Dragon (*)

Label: none
Country: Austria
Released: 2010
Genre: Ambient


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