Splits, in general, are dicey: often two bands (or more) are vaguely similar, making for a decent record but one that usually acts as filler. These releases seem to contain cast-off songs from recent recordings that didn't fit the scope of the album.
In this case we have two newer bands that are making waves by creating a sound somewhere between classic darkwave and metal. Both bands are a bit removed from their last full-lengths so it would be easy to say these songs are specific to this release, allowing new listeners to see what each band is capable of.
First up is Alaric. The band contains members of more than a few well-known California bands. Their abilities show within their writing. The major stylistic pinpoint would be Amebix, right down to the vocals which share more than a passing similarity to the classic gurgling force of The Baron. The guitars aren't forceful or particularly heavy, relying on slight distortion and delay to give the songs a viably creepy vibe. The rhythm section works overtime to make the songs truly move, but never doing more than necessary.
Atriarch made some waves last year with their debut LP. Those four songs did a lot to cement their reputation within the underground, carrying both doom metal and deathrock influences in their compositions. The members’ past works in Trees and Graves At Sea gives them a heavier backbone than many of the bands copping to the deathrock influence these days. Suffice it to say, not much has changed for on this release. They still trade in increasingly dark atmospheres and a willingness to be heavy without sacrificing said atmosphere. The songs on their side contain a bit more movement overall, creating a more obvious force within their songs.
This is a great split showing two bands that still have some room to grow but are well on their way. These bands represent some of the better and best-known bands playing in this style. If you need a record to hang yourself to, this may be it. The songs contain a pallor of darkness and despair without getting into whiny or simplistic emotion.
7.5 / 10
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