W.A.R. Productions 2013
Wearing no steel that’s bright and true, J. R. R. Tolkien’s saga carries on down the path of immortality.
Thirteen years into his literal journey, Austrian producer and composer Alex Wieser still whittles away at “The Lord of the Rings” in pursuit of its immaculate musical reflection and, after more than 20 records of varying quality credited to URUK-HAI and some other names, seems quite close to his goal. With an impressive array of guests from the heavy domain, the project’s mastermind makes metal to mostly evaporate leaving dry, if still weighty, bones on the ground and filling the riffs which rustle behind the sparse orchestral backdrop embroidered with sensual vocals and rippled either with the barely-there percussion or a delicate piano. This time, though, erstwhile ambient undercurrent gets to the raging heart of the hardest tracks like “The Door To The Paths Of The Dead” and floats to the surface in “Wrath” bearing the ragged, dramatic axe imprint of GREYHOUND BRIDGE’s Rich Davenport.
As Joe Matera’s guitar translucent clears the smoke in “From The Ashes” to chase the storm away, the harmonic power rises while, often speaking rather than singing, vocalists – among them SEEKING RAVEN’s János Krusenbaum on “Far Away” and VOS INTEREO’s Teresa Chillcutt-Gutierrez on the epic “Immortality” – add texture to the pieces which develop on the instrumental, not story-driven level. The biggest surprise lies in the bonus “Legolas” with its rhythmic, pagan dance-inducing pulse that can give Mike Oldfield a run for his tubular money, but elegiac flow of wordless “March Of The Forest Elves” or “Ancient Wisdom” also possesses a hypnotic pull, delicate yet unrelenting, perfectly conveying the autumnal feel of the ancient empires’ demise. Sad and unexpectedly sweet, the trip is nearly precious: step lightly and wonder.