Mavradoxa - Deafest - Mavradoxa / Deafest - (8/10)

Published on December 15, 2017


  1. Mavradoxa - Black Stream
  2. Mavradoxa - Burning Wings, Withered Leaves I
  3. Mavradoxa - Burning Wings, Withered Leaves II
  4. Deafest - Marcescence
  5. Deafest - Needled Fascicle


Atmospheric Black


Hypnotic Dirge Records

Playing Time:







Visit page

Two of my current favorite American atmospheric black metal bands, Deafest and Mavradoxa, have joined to release a thirty-two minute split, which, going by the cover art, is a celebration of autumn (and the rapidly dropping temperatures). The northeast meets the Rocky Mountains with two distinct takes on atmospheric black metal.

Mavradoxa has been steadily improving since dropping their debut album, Sojourners, in 2016. Their sophomore effort, Lethean Lament, released earlier this year, saw the band spreading their wings, as it were, offering slow burning, atmospheric black metal with a surprisingly Cascadian bent at times. Their side of the split offers three tracks, two of which are the woodsy, folkish intro/outro tracks, and one lengthy proper track. Surprisingly, the folk movements aren’t just throwaways, as the “Black Stream” sets the tone for cold, rushing creeks and falling leaves while “Burning Wings, Withered Leaves, Part II” offers haunting female vocals amid slow moving, melancholic acoustic picking. The proper track, “Burning Wings, Wither Leaves, Part I”, showcases the band’s slow burning approach, with heavy power chords trailed by melodic picking, accented by pained, growled vocals and a laid back drum performance. As a result, the sporadic bursts of trem riffing and ramped up percussion sound all the more striking, when the band effortlessly changes gears.

Deafest has been pumping out releases since 2008, with four full lengths and more EPs and splits than you can shake a stick at. Solely performed by Chase Ambler, Deafest has been one of the most consistent American one-man black metal projects in recent years. The two tracks on the Deafest side of the split offer a similar sound to the project’s earlier works; sharp and jagged, atmospherically charged black metal that conjures images of the steep precipices and rocky crags of the Rocky Mountains. Highly melodic, yet sharp and sweeping tremolo riffing charges forward, as fleeting lead melodies are interwoven,while the percussion blasts along innocuously. Despite being completely instrumental, Deafest’s tracks offer an autumnal vibe, presenting visuals of birch leaves turning yellow and waters turning frigid.

Mavradoxa’s full bodied, classy sound brings a surprisingly mature approach to their music, while Deafest’s sound offers breathtaking soundscapes that encompass the wild and dangerous beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Fifteen hundred miles might separate Deafest from Mavradoxa, but their sounds fit together like they’ve been closely working with each other for years. Not surprisingly, then, a few riffs used on the Deafest side of the split are reworked pieces from a never-realized project between the two bands. This is a really cool split that gives a peek at two of America’s most under-appreciated and tragically unnoticed bands.

Shawn Miller

Author: Shawn Miller

Scraping the bottom of the barrel since 1983, Shawn Miller is a heavy metal enthusiast living in the not-so-far reaches of Central PA. He is The Metal Observer's resident purveyor of the blackened, the foul and the filthy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *