Depending on your perspective, True Love is either the most perfectly named band in black metal, or the most inappropriately named one. Raii, the lone member of the Nevada-based project, makes some of the rawest, most painful-sounding black metal going right now – a volatile mix of mysticism and misanthropy. If you haven’t heard “Levitating on the Brain Waves of the Insane” from last year’s split with Whitewurm, you missed what was likely the most disturbing track of 2017.
At it’s core, Thy Dying Light‘s brand of black metal is no less spiteful. The only difference is that mastermind Hrafn cloaks his hate in more familiar second-wave garb. The tracks on the three demos and three EPs he released in 2016 may lull you in with the comforting sounds of buzzsaw guitars, blasts, and shrieks, but don’t be fooled – the second you let your guard down, he’s going to turn around and spit venom in your face.
For fans of aggressively hateful black metal (like me), Appalachian Noise’s announcement a couple of weeks ago that they’d be releasing a split between these two underground masters of malevolence was a cause for (black) celebration. For those who somehow have not yet had the good misfortune to have heard True Love or Thy Dying Light, we’ve got you covered – we couldn’t be any happier here at the Vault to be able to fuck up your Friday by streaming the split in its entirety.
True Love’s half of the split is comprised of three tracks: the previously-unreleased “Harvest,” the 2016 digital-only single “Blessed Chain,” and his cover of Darkthrone’s “Quintessence” that originally appeared on the 2015 demo 25 Years of Isolation. Having these three songs from three different periods of the band’s brief existence provides a unique opportunity to hear exactly how much Raii’s music has progressed in such a short span of time. “Harvest” is easily the most harrowing of the three tracks, the guitar raging with such a feral intensity that it sounds like it was recorded on a blown-out amp. “Blessed Chain” employs the same sort of genre-mixing that made “Levitating on the Brain Waves of the Insane” such a compelling listen, incorporating some blackened doom riffs and a twin guitar lick that sounds straight out of Kill ’em All-era Metallica in its second half. The Darkthrone cover is faithfully executed, and provides the idea bridge into the second half of the split.
Given that Hrafn took his project’s name from the title of a Judas Iscariot album, Thy Dying Light pretty much tells listeners exactly what they should expect before they ever hit play. Their side contains four of the five songs from their 2016 The Last Twilight EP, which has been unavailable on cassette pretty much since the second tiny UK label Slime Citadel put it up for sale. Bookended by the unrelenting “Fist of Satan” and epic ripper “Thy Dying Light,” it’s the middle two tracks of the split that really stand out for me. “Kingdom of Darkness” and “Carpathian Mountains” are both icily majestic mid-tempo songs, with hauntingly melodic guitar work and the kind of eldritch atmosphere you can only get from a true master of his craft.
But that’s enough talking from me – you can hear for yourself how fucking brilliant this split is below. It will be available as a limited run of 100 cassette on March 30 from Appalachian Noise Records, Make sure to snag your preorder now, or else run the risk of having to buy a copy from a Discogs flipper in a few weeks.