In a change from the usual programme, Nazgul is going to look at this particular release without any reference to the actual music contained on it! The reason for this apparent madness is twofold: firstly, both of these tracks have now been issued on limited edition tape format by Wulfrune Worxx and thus a detailed description of the content will follow for each one in turn early in 2010. The second reason for this decision is to focus upon the actual packaging of this particular release, which is rather special to say the least.
However, before all of that let us briefly consider the subject matter: both Morgoth and Balrog are characters from Tolkien's Middle Earth, and as such are worth a little background explanation. After his theft of the Silmarils and destruction of the Two Trees, Melkor fled the Valar and returned to Middle-Earth, as Fëanor cursed him and gave him a new name, Morgoth, the Black Enemy of the World. Returning to his ancient fortress of Angband, far to the north of Beleriand, Morgoth made an Iron Crown for himself, with the three Silmarils mounted upon it.... Equally, the Balrogs were in origin Maiar, of the same order as Sauron or Gandalf. Melkor corrupted them to his service in the distant past of the World, in the days of his splendour. They were originally gathered by him in his ancient fastness of Utumno during the time of the Lamps of the Valar. When this fortress was destroyed by the Valar, at least some fled and lurked in the pits of Angband. When Melkor and Ungoliant escaped from Valinor with the Silmarils, the Balrogs were still to be found in the ruins of Angband. Ungoliant trapped Melkor in her webs, demanding the Silmarils for herself, but the Balrogs issued from their hiding-place and rescued their lord.
Clearly this is very brief, and the Middle-Earth history lesson will continue when Nazgul reviews the tape releases!
Now then, back to "Orkstahl" itself. The story with this release as Nazgul understands it is that it was made for old friends of Alex who he was meeting up with, and typically he put together the sort of release that would shame many official releases from other labels!
To start with, and what isn't immediately apparent from the photos of the blue A5 envelope that holds the goodies, the square plate fixed to the middle of said envelope is actually made of metal, silver in colour but with a rippled pattern similar to that made by frost. This gives the piece some weight, as the envelope alone weighs over 80 grams as a result! Hand-painted on this is the legend "Orkstahl", with the band name written in gold-pen to the top left of the envelope and the edition number to the top right. As you'll see from Nazgul's copy, his is x/3 as it is a special version (effectively a promo version) of this most limited release kindly made by Alex in the Autumn.
Inside the envelope are to be found the two A4 folded sheets in red and blue with the new Uruk Hai logo, with the track details (both were recorded in 2002) and running times. The discs themselves are in fact data-discs rather than business-card sized CDr (which means you can't play them on a standard CD player, as they are MP3 for PC only), one red and one blue. They are contained - with two more smaller inlays - in a small black envelope, signed by Hugin.
A thing of beauty and wonder, Nazgul once again doffs his metaphorical cap to Alex in allowing me to have a copy of my own for the collection. It sits in pride of place on the library shelves here at Castle Nazgul, surrounded by other treasures - some seen here, some yet to be revealed...!