Awenden/Feminazgûl – Split (Review)

Awenden Feminazgul - SplitAwenden and Feminazgûl are both atmospheric black metal bands from the US, and they have teamed up for this split release; three songs, 30 minutes in total.

We start with a single track from Awenden, which is a solo act with guests, (vocals/flute).

Sam Slater Lighting Candles lasts 17 minutes and is an atmospheric mood piece. Made up of a variety of movements that lead to an epic climax, the track is an enticing and engaging journey into doomy Cascadian waters.

The song is rich in emotion and depth, drawing the listener into its fertile depths and keeping them there by strength of composition and immersive, absorbing atmosphere. Layered with meaningful musical content and gorgeous understated cleans, this track is a superlative example of what can be done with this sort of music.

Yes, this is a striking example of the Cascadian atmospheric black metal style, and Awenden play it better than most it seems. Sam Slater Lighting Candles is very impressive, very enjoyable, and hugely satisfying. I haven’t heard anything else by Awenden, but this song makes me want to devour all of the previous releases. Based on the strength of Sam Slater Lighting Candles, it’s ridiculous this isn’t a more well-known project.

Feminazgûl offer up two pieces, and their contribution totals 14 minutes.

Call out Her Name When You’re Lost opens up their side of the split, and is an 11-minute piece that’s more avant-garde than Awenden’s side. A range of different sounds and instrument are used, all to craft a textured and individual blackened work of art.

There’s a lot going on here, from soft piano to choral splendour. It’s an ambitious piece, but Feminazgûl seem more than up to the challenge. The music is richly evocative, merging subtle atmospheric depths with a savage blackened aggression that still somehow carries emotional resonance.

The song twists and turns with harshness of tone and beauty in its heart. Feminazgûl excel at combing grim darkness with resplendent colour, but in distinctly non-standard ways that speak of their individuality as a band. Magnificent, majestic, imposing, and chaotic, all at once, Call out Her Name When You’re Lost deserves to be heard widely and far.

The release ends with Windtime Wolftime; 3 minutes of abrasive distorted ambience that manages to conjure up a haunting atmosphere, despite its feral nature. Once again, the band demonstrate their skill at joining together extremity and emotive mood. It’s a fitting way to end this split, and I’m left hungry for more. Like Awenden, this is my first encounter with Feminazgûl, and I’m suitably impressed.

I love split releases like this as, if you’re lucky, they’re a great way to discover quality acts. This split is one of the best I’ve heard in a while, and the bands are both massively enjoyable.

Don’t miss out on this.

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