Skinliv open up the split, with four tracks across 19 minutes.
Skinliv’s blackened assault is menacing and deliberate. The tracks are atmospheric and infused with a thick aura of dread and malevolence that’s impressively wrought. The music is raw and betrays a firm 90s influence that Skinliv use to their advantage by focusing on the murky dark underground of the old-school.
A rough description of the band’s sound could be early Darkthrone, only with a more synth-enhanced atmospheric approach. This is only a surface-level description though, as Skinliv dabble in other waters too, (I hear a Mütiilation influence, for example, as well as some more recent atmospheric black metal ones).
Skinliv put in a decent showing with their side of the split, and I’d happily encounter their work again in the future, based on this. All of the tracks are good, but I think my favourite may be IV – which I didn’t expect, as it’s percussion-free until the last minute. It concentrates on crafting a grim atmosphere that really takes me back to the 90s.
After Skinliv we have Vermisst, who offer us two tracks, lasting 19 minutes in total.
Vermisst wield similar influences as Skinliv, but translate them into longer-form songs that interpret them in different ways. This is music for lovers of the classic Norwegian second wave, (early Satyricon and Burzum spring to mind), and Vermisst worship with authenticity and passion.
The first track Incantations of the Crimson Twilight is raw and unforgiving, yet still conjures mystical and esoteric moods. Although scathing in places, the band use ethereal keyboards to create dark atmospheres that are fragile and sharp, like bladed ice. Vermisst are a band that use harshness like just another instrument, and the song benefits from this.
Weeping from the Old Labyrinthian Spire is an ambient mood-piece, in the old Burzum style. The atmosphere is dark and otherworldly, and develops gradually.
Vermisst deliver the goods on their contribution to this split. However, although the second track is serviceable, my favourite of the two tracks is the first.
Overall an enjoyable split for lovers of 90s black metal. Check this out.