Civerous/Stygian Obsession – Heralds of Affliction – Split (Review)

Civerous Stygian Obsession - Heralds of Affliction - SplitCiverous and Stygian Obsession are both US death metal bands, and they’ve teamed up for this split release.

This is my first encounter with Civerous, but their 17-minute side of this split means that hopefully it won’t be my last, as it definitely makes me want to hear more from them.

Civerous specialise in the sort of ugly blackened death metal that’s filled with dark character and murderous urges. It’s a grim business, but the band go about their grisly work with skill and ability. Also worthy of note is the singer, who is gifted with the type of pitch-black growl that I love.

The songs, (two main songs and an interlude), are well-written and covered in underground grime, resulting in malformed odes to darkness that are surprisingly multifaceted. Opener Forms of Decrepit Brilliance is a great example; a thundering blackened death monster for its first half, it then unexpectedly becomes all atmospheric before unleashing the sort of crushing nihilistic doom that Primitive Man excel at. After the pointless interlude track is over, final song Decay and Decline doubles down on the doom, before building pace and nightmare mood to a destructively effective climax.

Civerous have seriously impressed.

We’ve met Stygian Obsession before with their 2018 EP Form Is Void, so it’s great to hear some more from them. The band offer up 21 minutes of material; four songs of primitive old-school carnage, with a blackened streak that’s as dismal as it is nasty.

The band’s apocalyptic darkness is probably even more atavistic in some ways than it was on Form Is Void. The music somehow feels less-developed, but in a deliberate, not-in-a-bad-way way. Or something. I suppose it’s that the band are moving ever-closer to their vision of what primeval death metal should sound like. It’s a good vision, and one which includes strong atmospheric qualities. It makes for music that may be unfriendly and hideous, but is remarkably agreeable despite this.

Heralds of Affliction is the sort of quality underground split release that aficionados of the underground Metal of Death should make a beeline for. Both bands are worth the entry fee, but despite how much I like Stygian Obsession, Civerous have managed to steal the show for me.

Highly recommended.

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