Vassafor - Temple Nightside - Call of the Maelstrom - (8.5/10)

Published on February 21, 2015


  1. Vassafor - To Your Grave
  2. Vassafor - Phoenix of the Maelstrom
  3. Vassafor - Crowned in Irradiated Ashes
  4. Vassafor - Tormentum Aeturnum
  5. Temple Nightside - Knell
  6. Temple Nightside - The Howling Void, As Wolves...


Black / Death


Iron Bonehead Productions

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Call of the Maelstrom is a split LP featuring two of Oceania’s heaviest and most devastating bands, Vassafor and Temple Nightside. New Zealand’s Vassafor was formed in 1994 and has been sporadically releasing demos, EP’s and splits since. Their crowing triumph was 2012’s devastating Obsidian Codex, which featured well over ninety minutes of crushing and barbaric black/death metal. Australia’s Temple Nightside formed in 2010 and dropped their debut full length album, Condemnation, in 2013. Interestingly, the band’s share VK, who performs bass with Temple Nightside and everything except for drums with Vassafor. Perhaps that’s why these two devastating acts have so much in common, but, really, Australia and New Zealand both have a hugely rich history of top tier black/death metal.


Vassafor Logo


The split begins with four tracks from Vassafor and features VK on guitars, bass and vocals and BP on drums. While loosely labeled as a black metal act, Vassafor’s sound runs much deeper: taking a mix of barbaric death metal and rangy black metal, and merging it with touches of stifling doom and fiery second wave trem riffing. Despite the wide swath of thunder that Vassafor brings, things are kept consistent and evenly paced. The guitars range from sharp, frenetic trem riffs to deep, rhythmic trem riffing. There’s really no pigeonholing Vassafor, as each track twists and breaths with a dark life of its own, pulsing through barbaric black/death, tinges of fiery second wave riffing and atrociously monolithically paced doom. VK’s vocals are low and rumbling, sounding like a deep bellow from below the earth’s surface. A rather constant barrage of blasts keeps things moving along quickly, and despite those dips into the trudging abyss, Vassafor’s sound is remarkably nimble.


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Starting with a slab of slow moving and unsettling ambient noise which builds into monolithic snail paced doom, Temple Nightside doesn’t show their true colors until well after three minutes have passed. It’s here, when the drums start blasting and the guitars build into a chaos frenzy of jagged, yet remarkably catchy trem riffs, that Temple Nightside show their unsettling amalgamation of everything heavy. The monstrous vocals are to the rear of the mix, sounding hallow and cavernous amidst the tumultuous black/death metal. Despite their side of the split only consisting of two tracks, the seventeen minute playtime covers a lot of ground while remaining consistent. From slow and menacing plodding to fast paced ravaging death metal to murky ambiance with distorted malformed trem picking, Temple Nightside’s portion of the split is the stuff that nightmares are made of. The transitions never seem forced, sounding like a writhing amalgamate mass of all things heavy.



Vassafor and Temple Nightside both bring amalgamous and writhing forms of black/death metal. Call of the Maelstrom is a rather cavernous sounding split that is utterly devastating from start to finish. From the twisting trem riffing and blasting barrage of Vassafor to the malformed ambiance, trudging pace and jagged riffing of Temple Nightside, this is one weighty album. Two of the heaviest bands from two of metal’s most destructive countries bring a crushing release that fans of Blasphemy, Antediluvian, Mitochondrian and Teitanblood should not be without.

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.

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