Andramelech/Serpent Noir – Gateway to the Nightside (Review)

AndramelechA rather tasty split release here from two purveyors of dark Black Metal.

Andramelech offer up two largely, (but not wholly), mid-paced slices of exquisite Black Metal art. Speed is used as and when necessary but otherwise these tracks are more about the feeling conveyed and the atmosphere of blackened hellfire. The melodies, especially in The Voiceless Verb of Vovin, conjure up appropriate images and feelings of otherworldliness and tension. For 9 minutes the listener is made to feel distinctly uneasy – something bad is about to happen but who knows what? The songwriting here is first-rate and Andramelech are definitely a band to watch.

After Andramelech leave us with feelings of discomfort and incantations, Serpent Noir ease us in gently with a light chanting and invocation. Surely nothing bad can come of this? What could they be calling out to anyway, really? Whatever it is the next track, the 11 minute epic Shadow as a Portal channels it perfectly. A sense of forlorn longing and hopelessness slowly settles over this track. Something has been taken away and can never be returned. Despondent; what solution do you have except to succumb? Oblivion beckons and it is hungry.

Serpent Noir offer a complex and interesting take on Black Metal, and all the more pure for it. Exceptional drum work, atmospheric riffing and varied vocals make for a song that has more ideas and interest than a thousand Darkthrone-clones.

Two bands that are well worth a look.