A mixed bag of Black here, with more than you bargained for. The main unifying feature being the raw production each band benefits from. This is like an aural version of Scrapheap Challenge.
VALDUR kick off proceedings with three slices of the mean and nasty. They have a definite rabid edge and a backbone of classic War Metal drum pounding providing some (albeit twisted) spine. The rusted blade riffing ensures the need for tetanus jabs as they lacerate with barbed wire intent, effective as they are, they still have to fight to keep a head above the chaos of the barbaric bass and thumping thud of the drums.
“Battle Scars” has an atmosphere of ill omen, a muddy trudge through blood and crud until firmer ground allows for a spitting bullets charge, like the band's other contributions, this track doesn't predict sunshine ahead, the best you can hope for is an occasional gap in the gas and then you still become sniper fodder. VALDUR's pummelling onslaught is all bomb blast and shrapnel that will render you as the main constituent of the coating of a fox hole. A punishment for when you've been bad (or otherwise.)
THE FROST shift continents literally and stylistically with Black Metal of a Norsk flavour. It's snowballs at twenty paces and this frigid attack will result in frozen ears, careful they don't snap off. “Eternal Spring Of Sorrow And Death” is blessed with Cresta Run rapidity but it also has moments of serenity as a majestic melody soothes the frostbite before the two combine for a speed skate to the finish.
There's gallop galore elsewhere and a certain groove underpinning the gliding lead runs that course atop the foaming rhythm, the shifting pace builds moment so that the regal raging shares time with more austere considered moments. The lupine vocals flick phlegm flecked with blood to spatter upon the ice of the instrumentation, cold contempt counterpoints the emotion of the guitar. Ending on a shivering acoustic goodbye, THE FROST certainly live up to their name.
Psycho japesters MASSEMORD venture into the cemetery for a spot of moonlit grave robbing, digging up the corpse of Black Metal past and trying to reinvigorate it in unspeakable fashion. Short and none too sweet, caustic riffs fizz over frantic but modest drums that tend towards the background, simplistic though the guitar is, it still has the capability to burn flesh. “I Will Murder The World” needles with an incessant stabbing motif that gets under the skin and no doubt leaves something unpleasant behind with each strike. You'll have a hard time pinpointing the bass and though the drums clatter away like their arse is on fire, they remain understated.
“Blood's Revelation” forges a slower path and uses more in the way of melody to make its point, the vocals still croak like a dessicated frog but this track is an altogether more sedate affair, relatively speaking that is. Thereafter it's back to the acid attack, this time with some Black Thrash embellishment and a hoot it is too especially with the pure Black midsection that drones along like the test bed at the Bosch tool factory.
This CD comes with an unannounced contribution from EVERWINTER tagged to the end, as there are five tracks from them, it would be unfair to ignore them. Musically they follow the same paths as THE FROST but have their differences, the rhythm guitar has a warmer tone, more buzzsaw than ice pick, though the lead motif on “Soul Devourment” is possessed of a certain frozen spikiness. By and large it's catch me if you can but “Hail Your Ruin” has that longship ambience about it, riding the swells and sliding into the troughs, there is some double bass mayhem in there but the magisterial mid-pace holds sway.
The dynamics on EVERWINTER's contributions have that story telling vibe to them, in some respects it reminds of ANGANTYR but only in certain elements, elsewhere it's a case of traditional North of here Black Metal from this now defunct band. As a bonus though there is little to complain about and as you are unlikely to get your hands on the original, complaints will be ignored.
This split comprises of bands that present their own take on nuts and bolts Black Metal. I can't say I was disappointed by any of it, though nothing here gave me a raging hard on either. That said there were plenty of moments where I found myself with a bit of a semi.