Posts Tagged ‘Split’

Normally I don’t review splits very often, as their juxtaposition of bands can sometimes be a bit jarring for someone that mostly listens to complete records, but I’ve come to enjoy the Chilean contribution to South America’s metal scene recently, and ‘Wrath of Darkness’ is a split between two forces in this underground mecca, Wrathprayer and Force of Darkness. Both draw from a black metal wellspring, but in different yet collaborative ways. This split is coming out on Nuclear War Now! Productions in a mere 2 weeks!

This split is an entirely collaborative effort, from artwork to musical direction and so has a lot more cohesion than a lot of splits do. Wrathprayer take first stab with the creepy intro and the suffocating, oppressive ‘Tria Serpentis’. Howling roars from deepest abyssal plains, belching horrors untold as chasms are torn asunder by dense, rippling riffs of the darkest, deathly black metal. ‘De Profundis’ is even bleaker, led in by tortured screaming and howling winds of blackened death. They leave a huge challenge for Force of Darkness to meet on their part.

Fortunately ‘Wall of Fire’ proves to be more than up to the challenge, with fire breathing ferocity powering us along at breakneck speed. A surprisingly melodic solo punctuates a song that is more waspish, traditional black metal than Wrathprayer’s contributions. ‘Nunc Scio Tenebris Lux’ is another scorcher that, despite its fuzzy guitar tone and screaming vocal, does nothing to stop being the most memorable song here. The powerful ‘The Order’ finishes their contribution as Force of Darkness sail off on black waters through their outro.

‘Wrath of Darkness’ is an excellent release that really showcases two starring lights in the Chilean extreme metal scene. Wrathprayer keeps everything dense and dark, while Force of Darkness has a bit more melody and some furiously catchy songs. Make a note of its release folks!


Shrine of the Serpent first lurked upon my radar with their awesome self titled EP in 2015. They’ve returned with a new split cassette with Black Urn, a band I have had no prior knowledge of but will definitely be tracking after this. The split is over 30 minutes of harrowing death/doom, with each band contributing two tracks each. It is available now through Bandcamp.

Opening with Shrine of the Serpent’s ‘Desecrated Tomb’, which is brutally heavy and slow. Like the heaving of tectonic plates, Shrine of the Serpent immediately reintroduce themselves as one of the heaviest outfits on the planet. Guttural roars compliment dragging riffs, all suffocating under a leaden atmosphere. ‘Catacombs of Flesh’ is just about as unbearably heavy, pushing down upon you with terrible, devastating darkness.

Black Urn’s side of the split crushes with the morbid crawl of ‘My Strength Lies on Heavenless Plains’, which builds from murky depths into a black metal influenced tremolo roar. Thunderous, molten riffs pour from aching speakers while tortured screams yearn for freedom. It is staggeringly heavy, and sets a new watermark for the music here. They close us down with the AIC Cover, ‘Junkhead’, which injects an entirely new menace into the grunge classic.

Probably one of the best splits I’ve come across in recent memory, both Shrine of the Serpent and Black Urn have really hit it out of the park on this one. Find a copy of it soon before they all disappear!

TURBOCHARGED / RAGEHAMMER - Enlightenment by Bloodletting cover art

This black thrash split between Swedish ragers Turbocharged and Polish devastators Ragehammer promises to be pretty fucking good, and each band provides a new song to the 7″ vinyl release, entitled ‘Enlightenment by Bloodletting’, out now on Godz ov War Productions.

Turbocharged’s contribution is a waspish, high speed attack of razor guitar riffs and a galloping, Sodom like thrash. There’s a crusty, d-beat rage here which is pretty cool, that channels a bit of Swedsh death chainsaw riffing too. Ragehammer’s ‘PanzerFaustian Enlightenment’ is a more direct, black metal approach, with an underlying emphasis on speed and blasting. Of the two tracks, I think I just prefer this one, only just though.

Both tracks sum up what makes each band good, and that’s what all good splits should do. Turbocharged chainsaw their way in while Ragehammer slash in with cold, metallic riffing. Yet more awesome stuff from Godz of War Productions, and you should definitely try and get a hold of this!

Split w/ Batsheva cover art

The newest release from Hellripper, a new favourite band of mine this year, sees them share a split with American black metallers Batsheva who I don’t know at all. But I’ll guess that they’ll probably have to be good to challenge my sheer enthusiasm for Hellripper alone! The split is available from both the bands’ Bandcamps, as well as a cassette release upcoming too on Label2318.

The opening tracks are Hellripper’s, and the first is a cover of mainman James McBain’s other band Rats of Reality’s ‘Armed With the End’. It’s a high energy rampant piece of blackened thrash. There’s a nasty crust punk vibe to it that makes it insidiously catchy, which can also be said for ‘Hell’s Rock and Roll’, the second and new track here. It’s got that same Motorhead-meets-early-Sodom cocktail of rock and harshness. Hellripper seem to have nailed the idea of keeping a bit of rock in the savagery. Great stuff!

Batsheva’s half is a much more black metal affair. ‘Liturgy of Endless Night’ is a dense wall of darkness, complete with inhuman sound effects. ‘Inter Spinas’ is a rabid beast of dense black metal, complete with a manic scream and some eerie atmospherics in there. ‘Inverted Gravity’ finishes with a more midpaced effort, accompanied by ghostly keyboard effects. Batsheva hold up their end of the split very well, and their glacial fury is frankly ace.

This split is definitely worth searching out and if you’re into both thrashy black metal and a more icy, traditional form, you’ll find plenty to slake your thirst here.

Kafir-E-Azam/Bvlghvm cover art

A while back, I featured Multinational Corporations, a Pakistani grindcore band, on one of my roundup blog posts. Their particular brand of aural violence is sludgy, swampy and simply fucking brilliant. Well their frontman Hassan has another grindcore sideproject called Kafir-E-Azam, and they’ve recently released a split with Ralwalpindi powerviolence destroyers Bvlghvm.

Kafir-E-Azam’s side of the split is nine tracks over four minutes, and is the kind of bowel rattling grind violence you’re looking for. The production is a little thin, but the music is hellish, with a gurgling roar and a battering percussive assault. Three of the songs barely touch seven seconds, and there’s a satisfying headbanging groove in the longest track, the one and a half minute ‘Toilet Bowl Politics’.

Bvlghvm (I’m not even gonna pretend I know how that’s pronounced), well their side of the split is even shorter, with five tracks covering two and a half minutes. This split is shorter than a lot of single songs I have in my collection. ‘Taaruf’ acts almost as an intro, with a slow, jerking buzzsaw riff, while ‘Woh Raha Khadda’ and ‘Idhar Tau Oa, Bataun’ are raw slices of hardcore punk/grindcore malice. It’s hard to judge music sometimes at this speed, but both acts do what they do well, and what they do is incite feelings of rage in us all! Get here:

New Torver material is always exciting news for me. Their filthy, raw black metal assault on last year’s ‘From Beyond the Abyss’ demo was invigorating and yet, oh so short. So their new split, with fellow black metallers Arcane North, should be something that should tickle my lobes just nicely.

Opening with Torver’s contribution first, ‘Moonrise’ is a moody, ambient instrumental piece that sets a sombre and eerie tone. Wolves howl as a swell of orchestration appears, building the atmosphere perfectly. ‘Naked in the Wilderness’ throbs with menace, chanting until a soaring riff and howling rasp appear to shatter the mood. This is very different from the Torver we know from previous work; it is possessed of a grander vision and, while still rather necro in places, shows a grand evolutionary step. The band are not afraid to add some almost hymnal vocal parts, and take reference from any number of atmospheric black metal bands to grow some cool riffs. The harsher segments mesh well, and it feels almost avantgarde in places. ‘Lunar Ritual’ leads with the hoot of an owl and a rasping, raw black metal assault. Torver are on more familiar territory here, and it rips straight to the bone with savage, primal rage. Yet synth melodies are still prevalent, showing that the band are evolving without abandonment of their raison d’etre. Laden with more of the haunting choral effects, and spoken word sections, ‘Lunar Ritual’ is the most ambitious piece Torver have written.

Arcane North’s contributions begin with ‘Invoke the Spirit of the North’, my first experience of the band entirely outside a Darkthrone cover on the recent ‘One Cold Night in Norway’ compilation. But what I hear, I like very much. ‘Invoke the Spirit…’ is eight minutes of fine atmospheric black metal majesty. Continuing this vein, ‘Cold Lonely Moors’ is vast and desolate, yet rich in both melody and atmosphere. There’s a wonderful, hypnotic quality to the icy riffing, but they don’t lack aggression when it is called for. The droning, Tom G Warrior vocal section around the 8 minute mark is also killer. It’s probably my favourite track on this split, although it’s a close call with ‘Lunar Ritual’.

Closing with ‘Moonset’, (unsurprisingly) Arcane North bring us full circle on what may prove to be a watermark for quality black metal splits for 2015. Mixing atmospheric black metal with the raw, and throwing in dark ambient pieces as well, Torver and Arcane North have both set themselves high bars to beat on their following releases.

Support here:

North Carolinian thrashers Suppressive Fire have teamed up with South Carolinian thrashers Axattack (that’s convenient!) for a four track split offering three covers and a thrash medley. I really dug Suppressive Fire’s debut recording, ‘Hellwraith’ so when I heard about this I figured it was bound to be pretty good. They’ve picked some good bands to cover; black metal legends Bathory, Irish rock legends Thin Lizzy and hardcore icons Black Flag.

So, to Suppressive Fire’s offerings first. The Thin Lizzy cover, ‘Massacre’ (from 1976’s ‘Johnny the Fox’), pays homage to the original’s twin guitar harmonies and bluesy groove but still comes across as quite thrash. I’m pretty sure this is the song that Alexi Laiho took the riff from to write ‘Bodom Beach Terror’ too, actually. Anyway, it’s a pretty badass version of the original, metalising it well. ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ is a pretty straightforward cover, and I must admit that outside ‘My War’ I’ve never been massively into Black Flag so maybe I’m selling it a bit short but it’s just alright for me.

‘War’ on the other hand is ripping. Suppressive Fire have captured the proto thrash rage of Quorthon’s baby in its infancy and given it a shiny 2015 twist. It’s lacking the original’s atmosphere but it’s played with gusto and therefore is rocking. Axattack’s ‘Who the Fuck are Slayer?’ medley has some of the finest moments of 80s thrash melted into one, almost seven minute tribute. Starting with a ‘Raining Blood’-esque drumbeat straight into ‘Seek and Destroy’, your inner metal nerd starts recognising all kinds of songs. Axattack are a bit rawer than Suppressive Fire, the Sepultura to the latter’s Metallica. They batter through Toxic Holocaust’s ‘Nuke the Cross’ straight into a ripping version of Venom’s ‘Black Metal’ and then straight back into ‘Seek and Destroy’. It’s an enjoyable rampage through some of heavy metal’s best moments, ending in a triumphant blast of Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’.

This is an enjoyable split of some well crafted thrash covers. These are two quality young bands who deserve support, and if nothing else, deserve to be heard as they do kickass versions of some of your favourites!

Get it here: