Review Summary: Yet another great band puts out a split with a comparably lackluster act. Go figure.
Why do great bands continuously choose to make splits with decidedly inferior acts? Panopticon does it on a regular basis, and Louisiana sludge masters Thou have also seemed to develop a fondness for it. Thou are one of the genre's most productive groups, pumping out quality material with a frequency and consistently surpassed by few, and much of their material comes from splits. As evidenced by Black September's contribution to this 2-song split, Thou's collaborators are not often as impressive as Thou. To an extent, this unfortunate tendency is understandable. The other bands are, in fact, working with one of the modern sludge scene's most talented acts, and as such it is often quite unrealistic to expect greatness. This, however, does not excuse the disappointing lack of interesting elements on Black September's side to this split. Their song, entitled Under the Rising
, is an extraordinarily run-of-the-mill USBM track. Yes, its hardcore-infuenced riffs and vocals are mildly interesting, but for a 6-minute black metal song on a split with a band as influential as Thou, it is quite devoid of anything that will draw the listener back to it after a few initial listens. The vocals are monotonous, the riffs are boring, and the structure is predictable and lacking variation.
However, in all honesty, the quality of Black September's contribution is relatively inconsequential in this split's legacy. If it were actually a truly strong black metal track, very few would be drawn to the split because of it, and if it actually turned out to be completely atrocious (which it is not), not many would be turned off to Thrive and Decay
. No one picked this up for Black September: Thou are where it's at. Their contribution, Smoke Pigs
, does not disappoint in the slightest. A single 5-minute track filled to the brim with massively sludgy riffs, screeching vocals, and thunderous bass and drums, Thou are on top of their game here. It doesn't hurt that they seem to have cranked the tempo on this split, pumping out one of their most energetic (there's even a solo near the end of the song) and fastest songs to date. As such, Smoke Pigs
becomes one of the quintet's strongest efforts, andit truly is unfortunate that Thou decided to release it on a split whose other half is so uninteresting in comparison.