CHRCH/Fister – Split (Review)

CHRCH FisterCHRCH and Fister are both US doom/sludge bands, and they have teamed up for this hefty split release.

CHRCH start us off. Prior to this they were an unknown entity here at Wonderbox Metal, which is definitely something to be rectified in light of this split.

CHRCH contribute the 17 minute behemoth Temples to this release. It starts off slowly and calmly, gradually unfolding, with drums being introduced as it begins to develop. When the distortion kicks in, the track reveals itself to be heavy and full of forlorn misery, with scathing screams riding across melody-driven riffs that threaten to pull you apart with their hopelessness.

I must confess a deep love of apocalyptic, pitch-black doom, especially when twinned with the type of scathing, blackened screams that CHRCH apparently do so well. Temples is a monster of a track, one that manages to both physically crush the listener, while also evoking heartrending emotions via scathing despair-fuelled hatred and an almost tangible feeling of menacing loss.

If you combine elements of both Keeper and Primitive Man, only with more of an emotive funeral doom streak mixed with a decent droning quality, then you’ll have a good idea of the type of grimly epic, high-quality music that CHRCH produce.

Unlike CHRCH, Fister are definitely known here at Wonderbox Metal, and in very favourable terms it must be said. See their split with Teeth, for example.

Fister’s contribution is an even lengthier track than CHRCH’s; a colossal 21 minute beast named The Ditch.

Fister are heavy, but that much should be obvious. What might be less obvious, (unless you’re familiar with their work), is the band’s propensity to write surprisingly catchy hooks into their crushing doom metal. This might be something with a slight traditional doom feel, or maybe a hint of stoner, or possibly just a kicking sludge riff; whatever it is, it tends to stick in the memory.

When they’re not doing that though, they’re usually to be found spewing forth endless torrents of hateful bile via vicious, doom-powered sludge metal, which is something that forms the bulk of The Ditch. This is face-peeling stuff, liable to injure and scar anyone that gets too close. There’s subtlety and mood here too though, let’s not discount that side of the band.

As mentioned above; pitch-black apocalyptic doom is very much my thing, and The Ditch is one of the best tracks I’ve heard Fister do. As much as I like the band, I was so impressed with CHRCH’s song, I was wondering if Fister were going to be up to the challenge of matching its quality. Of course, I shouldn’t have worried, as The Ditch is very much the equal of Temples.

This is one of the best, most enjoyable doom/sludge splits I’ve heard in recent times. With almost 40 minutes of material, it’s great value too.

Get this. Get this now.

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