(Altar of the Dead Production, 2014)
#FOR FANS OF: Black Metal, Drudkh, Abazagorath
Very rarely are splits really worthwhile on my end, as unlike most listeners I tend to want to immerse myself into an album and really see where it’s going, only for these to then yank the rug out from under me right when it’s getting interesting to have to then start the process all over again (or in some cases, two or three times more depending on the number of participants gathered). Now, this isn’t as big a deal if it’s a compilation of previously-recorded material, as it’s not new music at all and instead I’m able to access the older music in a convenient location without having to keep downloading the damn thing every time I get a new computer or phone. I have the CD, just pop it in and sync everything, easy enough and I’m on my way again without worrying if the old site is still active that I got it from the first time around or hoping to dig through the archives of my memory trying to find where it was originally. That’s always been the case for me, and while some might say that these kinds of albums are a good source to get introduced to new bands quickly with a small sampling of several different acts’ best work in one location, it’s not that often it’s been the case. All of that then serves as an introduction as for why I haven’t done much with them on the site, preferring straight-forward albums or EPs as the case may go, though this release is slightly different. Consisting of two Midwestern US Black Metal acts, Atrum Inritus and Sacrificial Massacre, these two bands are precisely in the camp of those who need a little extra help reaching other listeners on their own and should be exactly what the purpose of these splits should consist of. On the Atrum Inritus side of the release, the band utilizes droning riff-work and sluggish tempos alongside ethereal keyboards and a pounding drum attack that sounds quite dark and menacing. The droning, buzzing style of riff-work employed, quite raw in its approach to this type of effort and tends to be a well-done version of a style that can take some getting used to but does tend to come away with a pretty positive impression due to their overwhelmingly grand atmosphere and darkened pace throughout here. ‘Eyes of Volition’ uses crushingly heavy drumming and a droning style of Doom-influenced riffing to weave darkened, pounding rhythms along at a dynamic, sluggish pace as the ethereal keyboards maximize the impact and atmosphere associated with this kind of attack. Their best effort, ‘Shrine of the Black Stone’ seems like a more epic variation on this type of attack as the droning riffing compliments the sluggish drums quite well while still offering plenty of dark and ominous tones before launching into a more frantic and raw style of attack in the finale which is quite atmospheric. Finally, ‘In the Presence of Kings’ comes off nicely with the same riff-patterns and drumming along a more expansive and explosive base here as the extra time makes for a more involved and dynamic atmosphere than their other efforts but gets a little repetitive with their overlong length. As for Sacrificial Massacre, they’re quite a bit darker and more of an old-school type of band with more tremolo-styled riff-work and a sense of thrashing patterns in the drumming that give off a much more infectious and energetic pace throughout their tracks. The tracks are simplistic but are not easy enough to be discarded away, as instead it allows the shorter tracks to gain a rather immediate reaction with the ferocity displayed to be honed in at selected tempos and styles to really generate some impressive moments throughout this. The raw tone it’s recorded in certainly helps with this old-school tone and helps them pack a rather intense attack than Atrum does, and when in conjunction with their love of tribal rhythms and drumming popping up here and there, it’s certainly quite enjoyable. ‘The Scions of Tialoc’ uses thumping drumming and ravenous riff-work for a scalding raw and brutal assault with the frantic tremolo riffs blazing through the intense drumming patterns for a spectacular opening effort and sets them up quite nicely. As well, ‘Nine Trials of the Ancient Dead’ continues this with plenty of ravenous blasting and frantic buzzing-styled tremolo riffing that not only keeps their relentless pace intact throughout for a rather dynamic and intriguing effort that easily stands out as their best one here. ‘Oration of the Blood Offer’ starts off with tribal drumming and rhythms before charging back into their more traditional orientations with blasting drum-work and dynamic razor-wire riffs pounding out a dynamic pattern that contains a few hints of melody touched off here and there for extra benefit. Finally, their cover of Marblebog’s ‘I Am the Forest Heart’ features a similar kind of energy into their traditional works with plenty of splitting drumming alongside the blazing-fast riffing with a special dynamic melodic mid-section that bridges the lower-pace finale quite well and ending this on a positive note. Not necessarily the best split release in the genre, but definitely one that does well with its intentions and makes for a fine experience being exposed to two quality acts here.