Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.
This time we have a selection of tasty, (and not so tasty), split releases for you. I’m a fan of the split release format, as it frequently allows for some inventive releases, as we’ll particularly see below from a couple of bands.
Band(s): Bhleg / Nechochwen
Title: Sorlande Sky/Majestic Translucence – Split
Style(s): Black/Folk Metal
Duration: 13 minutes
Release date: May 31, 2019
Bhleg offer us folk-tinged black metal that’s melodic and dark. It’s an enjoyable song that’s textured with the band’s nature-inspired influences and is an obvious love for their craft. There’s clean singing as well as screams, with the cleans helping to form atmosphere through backing accompaniment to the piercing screams. Fast and energetic, ‘Sorlande Sky’ is another solid track from Bhleg.
It’s my first experience with Nechochwen, and their black metal offering is similar in scope to Bhleg’s, but with a different feel and emphasis. Folk elements and clean singing feature prominently, as do engaging melodies. It’s expansive, with an effective acoustic presence and a slow/mid-paced delivery. ‘Majestic Translucence’ has definitely left me wanting to hear more from this band.
An enjoyable split from both Bhleg and Nechochwen, I recommend this highly if you have a taste for folk-infused black metal.
Band(s): Putrevore/Grim Fate
Style(s): Death Metal
Duration: 10 minutes
Release date: February 12, 2019
Putrevore are a monstrous death metal act, featuring the singers of Avulsed and Paganizer, (among others). It’s the former who adds his considerable lungs to this, and he sounds brutal. The song is harsh and unforgiving, but when they take their foot off the pedal, they reveal macabre melody amidst the barbaric carnage.
Grim Fate are a relatively new band from the Netherlands, and this track acts as somewhat of a taster for their first full length. It’s a good taste, and I want more! ‘Untimely Demise’ is six minutes of cavernous old-school death metal that rumbles through a war-torn landscape like a daemonic battle tank ready to destroy anything left standing and then reap its soul. Heavy, with some solid riffing, a doom presence, and plenty of grim atmosphere. Grim Fate have definitely left me wanting more.
Title: Atra Musica – Split
Style(s): Acoustic/Medieval Black Metal
Duration: 46 minutes
Release date: May 31, 2019
Okay, a bit longer than most of the Short Sharp Shock fare, but it’s a split so…
Both bands on this split provide four tracks, and Griffon start us off with their take on medieval-influenced black metal. Melodic and energetic, resplendent with atmospheric weight and with added folk elements, (which particularly work well), these are enjoyable and worthwhile songs to get to know.
The majority of the vocals are harsh screams or growls, but the occasional clean/semi-clean passage is also included, which I especially like. Spoken word also appears too, which I’m never too much of a fan of, but at least it’s well-performed.
The three main songs are well-written and performed, and I like that the fourth song – the stirring, grand ‘Interlude’ – acts as a natural break between the Griffon and Darkenhöld sides of the split.
Darkenhöld’s four tracks are different than their usual output as these are acoustic songs. So, across the playing time, we get hybrid black metal/folk songs delivered with acoustic relish and skill. These songs are textured and rich, and quite satisfying listens. I particularly like the sound and feel of the drums, and the percussive elements feel like a real selling point of them. Peppered with a variety of other instruments and vocal styles, Darkenhöld have delivered a special collection of tracks here.
Band(s): Sneezing Pus/Vomi Noir
Title: Putrid Necrotomy/Toutes les Couleurs de la Cacophonie Humorale – Split
Duration: 11 minutes
Release date: April 29, 2019
We have something disgusting for you now. Sneezing Pus sound exactly like their name, and put out the sort of putrid, rotten grindcore that will have you yearning for the ‘cleanliness’ of early Exhumed, Carcass, and General Surgery. It’s filthy, ugly stuff, but not without its pestilent charms. A few different speeds are used, but theirs is a largely relatively relaxed pace as far as grindcore goes, at least initially; the band pick up the pace as the music progresses. Sneezing Pus take their time to spread their foul contagions, and each of these three tracks is filled with plagues and grotesque illnesses to savour and enjoy.
Vomi Noir are a more violent proposition, with access to faster-acting virulence and more aggressive pathogens. Just as nasty, but in a more extreme way, Vomi Noir rip, tear, blast, and mangle their way through four fast songs of hideous goregrind nastiness.
Primitive and vile, this is for all sickened underground grindheads.
Band(s): Amiensus/Oak Pantheon
Title: Gathering I & II
Style(s): Progressive Black Metal
Duration: 36 minutes
Release date: May 1, 2019
We’ll finish with this longer split between Amiensus and Oak Pantheon. Both play progressive black metal, and both have released some high-quality material over the years. If you’re unfamiliar with either of them, then this is a great way to start to get to know them.
This is a reissue of both Gathering splits from these two bands. The first is from 2013 and features one track from each, while the second is from 2018 and has not only one from each but also a collaborative track written and performed by both Amiensus and Oak Pantheon. This latter track is particularly enjoyable, playing to both bands’ strengths.
Expressive, melodic, and with a range of vocal styles from growls, to screams, to cleans, both of these bands know what they’re doing with the style and do it in their own enjoyable ways. Definitely check this out for a treasure trove of material.