The Nazgul

The Nazgul

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This was one of several mysterious albums released in limited batches in Germany by the Pyramid label in the mid-'70s and apparently sold mostly through art galleries and other unconventional retail sources. After 1974 the major labels were no longer interested in creative Krautrock and so Pyramid undertook to keep the spirit of this genre alive for another few years. These artists and records were so unknown that when they started being reissued on CD, many people thought they were a hoax. The Nazgul were one of the high points, once one gets past their peculiar fixation with J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Not only do the group and the track titles derive from the trilogy, but even the bandmembers use Tolkien characters as their only known aliases. Fortunately their album -- recorded in Cologne, Germany, in 1975 and 1976 -- has strikingly original music, just four long instrumentals of atmospheric, improvised space music that use odd instrumentation to create sounds that are unlike much else. The tracks are all quite free-form and ambient, with lots of murky, shadowy noises to create something dark and disturbing, in the vein of Lustmord, though predating him by a decade. "Dead Marshes," in particular, is eerie and evocative, with lots of gongs and burbling Moogs in the background while an occasional atonal trumpet blares out like some primordial swamp creature. "Mount Doom" is even darker, with wind noises, drones, and cavernous clattering noises, coming off even more like ambient industrial music. Unlike some "lost classics," which should never have been dug up, the Nazgul's sole album is a real winner.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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