Released: 2010, Serpent Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
How does an up and coming doom act follow up a critically well received and generally massive debut effort? Find another band in the same situation and release a split L/P. Such is the case with the Black Pyramid and Old One, teaming up together for SPLIT IN HALF. Each band contributes two new tracks, with contrasting styles and presentation that complement each other nicely. And at a playing time in the neighborhood of 40 minutes, there’s guaranteed to be a lot of doomy goodness to be had.
Black Pyramid’s self-titled debut was one of my favorite releases from last year, and the new songs seem to pick up where that album left off. “Illumination” starts out as a traditional Sabbath-esque doom rocker, but takes a left turn onto the psychedelic expressway about halfway in, which allows the gargantuan riffs an opportunity to breathe a little bit. “War Swine” is a no-nonsense mammoth, and is arguably the angriest tune we’ve heard from the band yet. Straightforward and heavy, the band still retains its sense of functioning groove.
Consider Old One to be the Yin to Black Pyramid’s Yang. A drum and bass duo, these guys are the definition of “minimalist” but still manages to deliver a ridiculous level of heavy within that context. “Over the Hill” is a catchy foot tapper that recalls some of the more experimental rock music from the late ‘60s. The ever present organ hum in the background segways into the abstract spaciness of “Hexed.” 12 minute of fuzz and drone may not be for everyone, but it’s an interesting coda to follow up the rollicking stop of “Over the Hill.” The band tends to record their tracks live in one take, which makes it even that much more intriguing.
SPLIT IN HALF certainly won’t be for everyone, but for those who appreciate the slower, the sludgier, and the all together heavier side of things, it’ll be a welcomed addition to your music collection. Black Pyramid and Old One are two very different bands but their juxtaposition on this split works in every way. I’m even more anxious to hear what these guys have in store for us next. Check out the Serpent Records website to pick up a copy.