Francis Root/Sconsacrata – Split (Review)

Francis Root Sconsacrata - SplitFrancis Root, (based in Norway), and Sconsacrata, (based in the UK), are both solo black metal acts who have teamed up for this split release, (both artists are also in sludge metal band Beggar).

Francis Root start us off, with 19 minutes of material. The style of the four songs we’re presented with is one that’s modern and progressive, with elements of electronica and industrial sewn into the music.

The songs are lethal and sharp, with blistering aggression and pummelling intensity. When things slow down a more atmospheric aspect appears, with foreboding synths adding layers of dark intrigue; Light’s Last Act contains some especially effective mood-driven moments. Colossal riffs can sometimes be heard to crash against these shores too, revealing a certain level of blunt brutality to the otherwise serrated delivery. It’s quite a varied package across all five songs, and I very much like what I hear here.

Also, I like the vocals a lot, especially as they’re low in the mix and treated like just another instrument. Piercing screams slice through the airwaves like pressurised water, while these are occasionally replaced with deep growls that sound somehow synthetic and inhuman. Other styles briefly appear, all of which work well.

I’m put in mind most of all of a mix between the first album from Anaal Nathrakh, the second from Aborym, the third from Crest of Darkness, and the fourth from Red Harvest. The music of Francis Root shares commonality with all four of these records, and then proceeds to wrap it all up in its own vicious personality.

The artist behind Francis Root has impressed.

Sconsacrata’s side of the split is 18 minutes long, and delivers five tracks of raw aggression and enhanced atmospherics. The music takes minor thrash and punk influences, and infuses them with a hefty dose of industrial and psychedelic properties.

These songs are equally as experimental as Francis Root’s. This manifests in different ways, but the end results are no less varied or effective. Opener Among the Debris of Humanity is a striking first track, with its atmospheric groove and absolutely lacerating harsh screams. It kind of takes the root Darkthrone style, and adds a veneer of industrial psychedelia. Then, things change completely with My Work Is Not Yet Done, which comes across as a mutated mix of The Kovenant, Ministry, and the more experimental side of Mayhem, (think Grand Declaration of War).

Therefore Death Nothing Is to Us is a burly, noise-enhanced blackened death metal powerhouse, almost relentless in its belligerence. After this the charmingly-titled The Solar Anus treats us to an expansive noise-rich journey into abrasive and atmospheric waters, and brings in some Aborym-esque elements.

Each track is longer than the last on Sconsacrata’s side, and this culminates with the five-minute Narcosatanic Insurgent. The song revels in a punkish fury and an atypical bass-led groove, more commonly found in noise rock than black metal.

Like Francis Root, the artist behind Sconsacrata has also impressed.

This split is very enjoyable and should eagerly be sought out by connoisseurs of the underground. If you’re a fan of experimental and industrial black metal, then both of these bands are well worth your time. I can’t wait to hear more from both artists.

Very highly recommended.

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