It has become a standing joke in the metal community that any black metal band that releases more than 10 or so copies of an album is selling out. Obviously, this is false for the majority of releases by the majority of black metal bands, but it still has a grain of truth. A lot of black metal bands do release only a limited quantity of certain albums, perhaps to make it more unique, or to drive up the price on eBay, or from a whim of artistic integrity. Prudence compels us to accept the third one as being the most likely reason.
This split between Xasthur and Leviathan was limited to 500, and was released on both Vinyl and CD. I was lucky enough to have a friend of a friend copy his vinyl version to a digital format, and send it my way. The quality is naturally lower than that of a CD, but in black metal, this is almost a bonus, rather than a drawback.
As for the content of the album, I can sum it up in one phrase; Pure, beautiful evil
From the pleasantly subdued drums which send the mind into a frenzy, to the layers of reverberating guitars that pound their hatred into your skull, to the insane cackles, rasping screams and guttural moans of Malefic, this album echoes it�s message of cruelty and despair to all who will listen.
Conjuration of Terror
is probably the highlight of the album. It is a draining seven minute song which speaks of the end of the world through religion, and it is here that Malefic plays and vocalises his best. It precedes the next best track, Instrumental
which is an enjoyable exercise in frenzied drumming and repellent distortion.
It is also interesting to note that the beat for this split is considerably lower all around than most of Xasthur�s other releases, and indeed a lot of black metal. This is especially noticeable in The Eerie Bliss And Torture (of Solitude)
It is, in a way, even more crushing for it, as it allows for a deliberate message to be drawn in by the listener, a message which might be lost in the flurry of tremolo picking and screaming presented by other Black Metal acts.
All in all, I can say, for all its short length, this effort by Xasthur is my favourite, even moreso than A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors
. Again, I reiterate my previous statement about this split, it is pure, beautiful evil in its most excellent form.