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Split Review: Desekryptor / Draghkar

It’s not much of a surprise that Desekryptor and Draghkar ended up doing a split together, considering that both bands are newer projects in the death metal scene and both were lucky enough to have their debut EPs released as cassette tapes through Blood Harvest Records. But surprising or not, this split is a welcome one. If you still haven’t heard Chasm of Rot or World Unraveled and the curious but sleek Karmazid artwork isn’t enough to lure you in, rest assured you’ll find nothing but ferocious death metal from two rising names within.

Desekryptor’s track, titled “The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses,” demonstrates right from the beginning that the band is still very much in favor of their previously demonstrated dense and overwhelming approach to songwriting.  Their side begins with the immediate construction of a swirling, chaotic soundscape that transitions into a more traditional and slower-paced center before sliding back into dissonance, rendering the entirety an unpredictable but still decently crafted song. It’s apparent that Desekryptor’s songwriting is still maturing at this point in time, but what the outfit does have to offer is performed well and mixed expertly to boot. All in all, their half runs just shy of four minutes and bodes very well for their full length album on the horizon.

Draghkar’s offering is a more familiar and likely more accessible flavor of death metal, featuring what I believe is safe to call their catchiest and most energetic riff yet. Interestingly enough, the weaknesses on this track are the opposite of those found on Desekryptor’s; the songwriting itself is nearly seamless, but there is room for improvement in the actual performance of it. “Stealing The Keys to Nothingness” marks a move towards faster, more upbeat death metal as opposed to the doomier, Finndeath-influenced World Unraveled, but Draghkar scales their sound up and makes a solid shift to this fiercer tempo without too much of an issue. The distant and murky vocal style seems less suited for this type of pacing, but that’s more of an observation than a complaint, as the track still packs one hell of a punch and makes for several fine additions to the official Draghkar archive of memorable riffs.

Desekryptor and Draghkar provide a solid combo of up-and-coming death metal in two distinct styles, and with an eight-minute total runtime, there’s no excuse to sleep on this split. Desekryptor / Draghkar is now available digitally and on tape from Blood Harvest Records, and will be available on vinyl in June.

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