Those who have waited patiently since Ashdautas' demise are well-rewarded with this Split
, as these former members of the Black Twilight Circle make up for lost time. Acts that aim at similar peaks as Ashdautas -haunting, dissonant melodies, utterly numbing shrieking, and an atmosphere that is so void of any recognizable remnant of respite- might appear as parodical, as extreme and unrelenting as the formula is. Ashdautas exemplifies that the key is the execution rather than the elements. In two tracks, the band creates a pitch-black tunnel, with no light at the end. There’s such little to grab ahold of and cling to between the 30 minutes in terms of melody or relief that the listen can be exhausting. Yet, the beauty of the Ashdautas side and “Permillion Stars In Depths Familiar,” especially, is in the tightness of the composition. It moves slowly, yet carries a recognizable and absolutely necessary energy that propels the piece. Its bleakness is merely stretched out into a 22 minute drawl of screeching black metal, and never once does it wear thin. Rather, the mood compounds and entwines listeners throughout. “Choirs of the Vice” follows suit, if only with a little less oomph and in less bombastic fashion. The entirety, though, swarms into an exacting pinnacle of suffering and decay that revels in the rougher edges of black metal.
Similar in style yet polar opposite in structure, crust-punk / black-metal alchemists Bone Awl add to the second half of the Split. And add
is certainly the right term, here, as it provides more of a complement rather than a centerpiece. Accomplished in their own right, the band displayed their inky-black prowess on Meaningless Leaning Mess
. Unfortunately, the tracks on display here don’t quite live up to it. The stench of raspy vocals and punk dynamism follows them to the Split
, though, thankfully. The production follows suit as well, in its minimalism and griminess. Bone Awl’s vigor supplements the sedated drawl of Ashdautas in fitting fashion. They display a raw savagery reminiscent of similarly-brazen acts like Vordr and Furdidurke. Apart, Ashdautas and Bone Awl are groups talented enough to create masterpieces in their respective black metal sects. Lucky for listeners, they’ve decided to combine their talents into a single package so ice-cold and bleak that it’s bound to make any following releases in a similar vein sound blubbering and amateurish. Needless to say, this is well worth the wait.