It is not often that I ever get the chance to listen to split albums, let alone review one. Fortunately, the powers that be here at Ghost Cult have awarded me such a chance with the bleak, yet satisfying, Split (Halo of Flies) from Primitive Man and Northless. Primitive Man punches out a fifteen minute track while Northless made three tracks for the recording (receiving about fifteen minutes of total play time). Comparing the tracks was an adventure to say the least especially where both bands dabble in the world of sludge metal, yet have such differing overall sounds.
Primitive Man’s sole track on the split, ‘Empty Husk’, is a fifteen minute descent into absolute hatred and depression. For a quarter of an hour, the Denver natives beat the unholy Hell out of your ears and very soul. A steady tempo is kept throughout the track until its sudden ending. Northless then gets up to bat with three tracks, ‘Deleted Heartstrings’ , ‘The 10,000 Year Wound’ , and ‘Wasted Breath’. The Milwaukee residents of sludge and post-metal really bring the same intensity their partners did on the split, but bring it with even more chaos. Thunderous drum work mixed in with what seems like schizophrenic guitar riffs really give off an eerie vibe on all of three tracks. The second track hits the breaks a little in terms of tempo but the overall attitude remains the same as it picks up in the second half. The last track has a much more post-metal and melancholy feel compared to the first two. The final two minutes or so brings in a crescendo that speeds you up until slamming into a wall to end the album.
The hardest part about this split and reviewing it was trying to determine how to grade it. Most often I receive full lengths and the occasional EP. I found this split to be enjoyable from both artists involved and each of the four total tracks stand out and I found were memorable. Clearly I need to invest more time in both of these bands since both are clearly good at their craft.