Everyone into Black Metal should already know these two bands from the infamous Les Legions Noires (Black Legions), France’s answer to the Norwegian Inner Circle. Those that know these bands, already know what the music sounds like and how insanely rare this stuff is, so I will not discuss that; I will only state why this is in fact such a brilliant split album and why both these bands are much more than over-hyped, kvlt kiddie bands.
This stuff was originally released on tape only, but thanks to the Net it is now also available in CD format, but needless to say 99% of it is only bootlegs, since Embassy Recordings physically destroyed most of the master tapes and other copies around ’96. Many of the tracks on here are also available on the zillions of other VLAD TEPES and BELKETRE demos floating around in the underground, but release is essential because it compiles the best work from both bands, IMO. If you are new to raw Black Metal and, this is a very good point to start, along with the mandatory old BURZUM, DARKTHRONE, BATHORY, MÜTIILATION and SARCOFAGO material.
VLAD TEPES kicks off proceedings with their brand of raw, grim and “Rock ‘n’ Roll-ish” Black Metal,. With lots of great riffs and interesting bass work. Musically they sound like DARKTHRONE, but a bit more psychotic and hateful. Unlike most other LLN bands, the guys in VLAD TEPES (Wlad & Vorlok) actually concentrated on writing fully formed songs with great, yet raw and grim-as-fuck rhythms and eerie atmospheres.
BELKETRE follows suit and their part is even better that that of VLAD TEPES. To this day I can’t recall a vocalist with a more evil and tortured voice than Aäkon Këëtrëh. It is genuinely *scary*! Musically not much different than VLAD TEPES, but a bit faster and more depressive and mournful.
Nothing more needs to be said – try to get this. If you are into wimpy, commercial “Black Metal” like CRADLE OF FILTH, I advise you stay away!! (Online April 27, 2006)