This four way split is between Serpents Athirst and Genocide Shrines from Sri Lanka, and Trepanation and Heresiarch from New Zealand. Each offer up a single track.
Serpents Athirst start us off with their occult black metal. Violent and full of rage, Poisoning the Seven has some death metal elements that can be heard in some of the opening riffs, but is mostly an old-school-flavoured assault on the senses. This is five minutes of hateful aggression and grim blackened guitars. Driven by blast beats for the majority of the track, Poisoning the Seven is a strong start to this split release.
Genocide Shrines share a member with Serpents Athirst, and deliver the longest song here, with All and/or Nothing, an eight minute blackened death metal feast. Brutal growls and blasting belligerence lead the charge as the band prepare for battle. It’s forceful and direct, and steamrolls through the playing time with confidence and dark presence. Operating at multiple speeds and paces, the song is solid and satisfying.
Trepanation play an unholy mix of black metal, death metal, and grindcore. This is nasty, grinding war metal, and the shortest track here at under four minutes in duration. Starting slow, with macabre mood, it soon descends into a guttural barrage straight out of the underworld. Filthy and dank, this track is ugly and foul, but still one that you’d be happy to listen to again, assuming you have the stomach for this sort of extremity. B/H/T is enjoyably bestial.
Heresiarch’s black/death metal finishes us off with Dread Prophecy; over six minutes of lethal blackened warmongering. In some ways Dread Prophecy combines aspects of all of the above songs, as its black/death/war metal assault is aggressive, grim, harsh and bestial. Brutal and evil, the song drips with malevolence and violent intent. Yes, I like this a lot.
Each of the four tracks on this split are very enjoyable, and it’s hard to pick a favourite. At a push I’ll go with Heresiarch’s Dread Prophecy, if only for its sheer horror-filled atmosphere. It’s a worthy closing statement to a split release that has much to recommend itself. Make sure you check the entire thing out.
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