The Body / Krieg – Split


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A collaborative effort between two or more bands is not an unheard of concept, especially within our world’s more avant garde entities, from the sublime – Scott Walker and Sunn O))) – to the not so good (Metallica and Lou Reed just to open a can of worms). Experimental extremists The Body are certainly no strangers to such work, with their previous collaborations with the likes of Thou and this release with black metallers Krieg (At A Loss).

The first thing to note is how dissonant and visceral this release is. As with their previous joint works, The Body choose to bolster the white rage intensity of Krieg, building on a distinctly metal record with their dark traits. Rather than the more distinctive black metal blast beats however, this is much more electronic based, programmed beats, high pitched frequencies and feedback and a bulldozing pace, albeit with Neill Jameson’s piercing growls and shrieks on top.

This clash of raw black metal and the mechanized and programmed beats match up so well in what is an equally horrifying, dizzying and hypnotic effort, while Jameson’s vocals add an even weightier punch of pure terror as this conveys the absolute epitome of dismay and filth.

This is extreme metal crawling to its warped and perverse limits, dragging it kicking and screaming to the future.

 

8.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL

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The Meads of Asphodel / Tjolgtjar – Taste of Divine Wrath


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The Meads of Asphodel are no strangers to split LPs, nor is Tjolgtjar for that matter, but this is the first time the pair team up for a co-creation. The result is Taste of Divine Wrath (Eternal Death).

The Meads of Asphodel has one of the best song titles I have seen in a while: ‘An Ebullient Prelude to a Loathsomely Grim End’. This short intro has a high level of bombast and the promised ebullience with its orchestra and choir, and gives way to the sufficiently grim ‘Chidiock Tichborne’. This song is very high paced and strange. The lyrics “High treason, hung, drawn, and quartered,” really impart the loathsomely grim end that was referred to in the previous title. The grunts are slow when compared to the music, and this contrast, together with the variation in styles of grunt, makes the song interesting.

Then follows an utterly bewildering cover of ‘You Got the Love’, called ‘You’ve Got the Hate’. It is mystifying and confusing, but actually quite good.

The penultimate song on the A-side is about Balthasar Gérard, the infamous murderer of William I of Orange who was gruesomely executed for his deed. This song details the execution and questions the value of the assassination. The music is rather atmospheric and beautiful, with acoustic guitars and synths, and contrasts rather poignantly with the subject of the lyrics. The atmospheric style continues into the final song ‘Infidel’, but this also contains some of the musical brutality of ‘Chidiock Tickborne’.

The B side of the split is Tjolgtjar, a one-man project in a genre known as “Black’n’Roll.” The first song, entitled ‘The 5th Mass & Her Works’ is a bit of a cut and paste of a mind-boggling mixture of Psychedelic oriented Rock’n’Roll with sections of Black noise. The next song, ‘Near You Always’, is far more balanced, having mostly a base of Psychedelica with a topping of Black rather than the rapidly altering sections of the previous song. I was rather pleased with the sounds of an actual goat in ‘A Goat in the Woods’, which is an instrumental song firmly entrenched in Psychedelic territory. The main guitar riff for ‘Winter Research’ is brilliant and catchy. The voice-overs at the start, middle, and end of this side make this a strange collection, however, the alien manifesto and satanic cults do make for very interesting listening.

With songs well put together; if you are interested in the strange and experimental sides of black metal, this split album might just broaden your horizons.

 

7.5/10

The Meads of Asphodel on Facebook

Tjolgtjar on Facebook

LORRAINE LYSEN


Blut Aus Nord / P.H.O.B.O.S. – Triunity


 

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Blut Aus Nord are one of those bands whose discographies should come with a map. Starting off with an atmospheric, expansive approach to Black Metal, they’ve spent two decades letting that approach lead them through a variety of approaches and styles, each united by the same cosmic aesthetic and adventurous spirit.

 

Their contribution to the Triunity (Debemur Morti) split shows them operating in a similar territory to 2007’s Odinist, but with a much greater reliance on structure. The more Metal moments of the first 777 album also spring to mind at points – thick, almost chugging guitars overlaid with haunting, progressive-minded leads and processed vocals. What’s interesting here is how much ground they’re able to cover in just under twenty minutes – the three tracks run together into an expansive whole which manages to be both heavy, introspective and surprisingly aggressive in parts; a great bite-size introduction to the band, and a perfect confirmation for fans that they’re still pushing their own distinctive musical vision forward.

 

One of the problems with splits is often that the bands are too similar in sound – Triunity avoids that by picking two acts who share aesthetic qualities but are musically quite distinct. With repetitive processed guitars, clipped mechanical vocals and sinister ambient noise, P.H.O.B.O.S most readily call to mind early Godflesh if they gave up on all that urban decay business and looked to the cosmos. “Industrial” – surely among the most abused words in music – is a good enough fit here, but this is an eldritch, half-tangible factory in the middle of a desolate spiritual wasteland, staffed by ghosts endlessly working at machines whose working conform to no known principles of engineering. Possibly making things for Argos.

 

Of the two sides, BAN’s is the most accomplished and satisfying in itself – P.H.O.B.O.S rely perhaps too heavily on repetition, and over such a short length can seem a little hollow – but Triunity shows two bands offering a similarly mystical take on two different styles, and is an engaging and captivating listen either in parts or taken as a whole.

 

8 / 10

Blut Aus Nord on Facebook

P.H.O.B.O.S. on Facebook

RICHIE HR