No Funeral are up first, offering two tracks lasting 19 minutes. I haven’t encountered No Funeral before, but their sludgy doom is so laden with filth, misery, and nastiness, that I sincerely wish I’d been made aware of them earlier. Was there a memo?
These two tracks are slow, dismal, and heavy, heavy, heavy. With doom pace and sludge metal intensity, these songs drip atmospheric menace and ugly threat. There’s a joyfully hypnotic repetition to some aspects of the music, and this draws you in like only the best doom sometimes can.
With a choice display of riffing and a relentless intensity that belies the slowness of the band’s assault, the fact that the music manages to be both atmospherically emotive while also retaining its crushing force is very impressive indeed.
The vocals consist of sickening growls and disgusting screams, well-performed and hideously effective.
I haven’t come across sludge metal as satisfyingly played as this for a while now. These two songs almost physically embody the concepts of disease and malignancy.
Phew. If I didn’t know that it was Livid who were up next, I would pity the band that had to follow No Funeral.
So yes; Livid, who contribute one track lasting almost 19 minutes. As mentioned, this is a band I do know, from both their extremely enjoyable debut album Beneath This Shroud, the Earth Erodes, as well as their earlier EP Sint.
Although Livid’s track shares some similarities with those of No Funeral, theirs is a more traditional take on the doom metal style; at least, it is if you coat everything in its own brand of dark grit and heavy filth, of course. Yes, Livid’s music inhabits the middle ground between sludge and doom metal, taking on the structural/compositional aspects of the latter, alongside the aesthetics and grimness of the former.
In contrast to No Funeral, however, the vocals here are mournfully-sang cleans that seem to speak of some long-buried tragedy and woe. They’re very effective at what they do, and offer a certain purity for the listener to grasp when compared to the overall heavy gloom of the music.
With nicely heavy guitars and an understated-yet-crucial sense of melody, this song is one of the best I’ve heard from this well-regarded band so far.
Well, this really is a top quality split. With a lot more material than you usually get for something like this, and with each track a very definite winner, this is something that any doom/sludge fan should get their hands on.