Reviewed: July 2020
Released: 2020, Odium Records
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
Polish black metal institution Black Altar has teamed up with the Norwegian outfit Kirkebrann (“church burning”) to create a brand new split record stating how the metal sounds of both nations have not waned in the current state of the world.
The two groups describe themselves as purveyors of black metal elitism and this release illustrates how serious the music is to them. I’m not sure about elitism but this record told me that black metal always has an atmosphere both audible and psychological when enjoyed.
Black Altar opens the split, ‘Deus Inversus’, with three melancholic tracks which are best described as a melting pot of white-hot lava burning away at the ear drums. This is a sound like a chainsaw being used to decimate a hysterical victim who is screaming louder than ever heard before.
The Poles transport the listener to a place of desolation and sheer terror through the means of guitar and drum. If you really dig this sort of low-fidelity atmosphere, check it out. Although I personally cannot say anything leapt out at me from these four songs.
Then it’s the turn of the Nordics, who live up to their name by producing the closest I’ve heard to a church burning put to music. Any keen BM fan knows this is the biggest cliché of the Norwegian scene, but this group aren’t using it as imagery, they are emulating it through their impressive musicianship.
Kirkebrann bring their own desolate atmosphere to the ears by fielding all the misanthropy and anguish a veteran Norway band can pack into 15 minutes. I felt these four songs were the catchier side of the record, but Black Altar did not fail in any shape or form. Here we have a split that is essential listening if you really dig European bands who charge their anti-Abrahamic music with all the spirit any anti-religious fanatic would feel when desecrating what they hate.
Put this in your collection if I have described your taste in metal in any shape or form.
1. Deus Inversus (Black Altar)
2. Ancient Warlust (Black Altar)
3. Outre (Black Altar)
4. Begrensa Bevissthet (Kirkebrann)
5. Faux Pas (Kirkebrann)
6. Et Nederlag (Kirkebrann)
7. Ufødte Klarhet (Kirkebrann)
Shadow – Vocals/bass
T.R. – Guitars
Lars Broddesson – Drums
Draug – Vocals
Hrafn – Lead guitar
Skroemt – Bass guitar
Nasreten – Rhythm guitar
Thunberg – Drums