Split CDs always are a good way for young bands to get their songs heard, especially if they get paired up with a band that already has a name out there. This is another one of these cases, with the known band being WYRD, who already have seven full studio albums out there (didn’t know they’ve been that productive), with the other two being virtually unknown. HÄIVE had three demos prior to this release, while for KEHRÄ this is the first ever release.
My only previous run-in with WYRD, “Vargtimmen Pt 2”, had been a very interesting mix of Black Metal and some Folk influences and the two tracks on this split underline their status as an unusual band. Without trying to get flashy or “kvlt” their mastermind Nargath has crafted two more long compositions of slow, dark and gloomy Black Metal with good melodies, variable vocals and clean guitars, some choir and a great, very quite break (the latter on “Uupunut”), which will cater to any fan of the band, because they just have that certain something.
HÄIVE cannot really benefit from a high gloss production, rather the contrary, but they conjure up a very natural atmosphere, melancholic and dark, yet with mouthharp and acoustic guitars underlining the good melodies, the nasty Black Metal vocals are the only full link to the original musical foundation and might potentially put some people off, still it wets the appetite for more. And at the end KEHRÄ are the only band “singing” in English (even though with their rough vocal style they could use basically any language and nobody would ever know), musically they also mostly operate in slow-paced waters, with the occasional faster outburst, but also a closeness to nature (showcased in the sounds of rain, wind and thunder), which stands in contrast to the invidious vocals and a bit rough atmosphere and sound.
WYRD undoubtedly is the most accomplished band so far, but even though both HÄIVE and KEHRÄ fit in very well, they have their own character and it would definitely be interesting to hear more of either band, HÄIVE apparently are working on their debut, so that should be an interesting affair for sure.
(Online August 30, 2007)