In front of me I have a very nice split-CD featuring two German bands: Black Metal solo-band AGRYPNIE and the Melo-Death band FATED from Hamburg. Before I get to the music I must say that the artwork is superb. Looking at it I would expect Black nor Death nor a split but it is very beautiful and would make an excellent renaissance-era painting.
Now for the music, starting with AGRYPNIE; as mentioned, it is a solo project, with everything done by “Torsten, Der Unhold” (NOCTE OBDUCTA). He’s quite the multi musician being very decent at everything he plays and excels at being a vocalist, of course his main job. Far from having the typical high pitch scream Torsten shouts his vocals in a depressive and distorted way, a very good voice for the music behind it. Also there is the use of a drum computer; I’m never a fan of those unless you do it really right, think MYSTICUM. However it is programmed much above average and is barely annoying. Still I think AGRYPNIE’s music would benefit very much from the natural sound of real drums, it does give the music a clean sound though, leaving much room for the melancholy and depression of the guitars.
The info sheet predicts “cold and depressive Black Metal” and while especially the latter is true there is also room aplenty for melody and melancholy altogether creating a very good album and most importantly; not a thirteen in a dozen Black Metal display. With an obvious love for the Latin language Torsten delivers three long, varied and well produced tracks plus an in- and outro. “Veritas Mutabilis” kicks off fast with creative use of the drums before changing into a mid-tempo song. His riffs are emotional and cold, with some fine acoustic parts. This variety is important and keeps the listener interested throughout the long songs. Title track “AGRYPNIE” then also shows the more traditional Black sound while retaining his trademark sound later on(if you can speak of that after one demo).
Time for FATED: “A Descent Into Maelstrom” kicks of their part of the split and presents us with a clear sound, melodic riffs and some keyboards before it transcends into the first proper track “Golem”. The first part is pretty slow and not very interesting although the vocals are remarkable and again not typical at all. This time we get a deep, powerful growl. And as the song continues, all of the sudden there is a blistering guitar solo of superior quality played with great skill, the sort of solo that wouldn’t look bad on a Thrash band. As the album progresses the songs get more interesting; “Delusive Silence” again is pretty slow but also has a brilliant solo part were the Heavy Metal influences are prominent. The band culminates with the outstanding “The Spirit Craft”, a song hardly Death Metal anymore at times, but played to perfection with guitarwork to be envious of, definitely their best!
Finally, there is a cover song, played by both FATED and AGRYPNIE, in the form of “To Isengard”, originally by MORGANA LEFAY. Keyboards return very subtle and what follows is a powerful Metal track, with good traditional riffs and of course still the deep vocals from FATED. I do not know the original but following the general rule that originals are always better then covers this track should give me a good incentive to check out MORGANA LEFAY.
Altogether a surprisingly good split, especially if you take into consideration the fact it is a demo; featuring two high quality bands that play their music with a nice dose of originality, very recommended unless you expect old school Black and Death Metal. Also bonus points for the artwork! (Online December 1, 2005)