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BLACK ALTAR / VARATHRON / THORNSPAWN
BLACK ALTAR / VARATHRON / THORNSPAWN
Emissaries Of The Darkened Call - Three Nails In The Coffin Of Humanity
(Odium Records)
44:41min

While I dreaded finding a stinker among the acts here, I'm glad to report that there is not one weak band on this three-way split. First up is BLACK ALTAR from Poland, playing a densely produced form of orthodox style Black Metal. Pro work all the way around; compact guitars / drums, strong vocals, and a sinister and straightforward songwriting style. I usually find bands of this kind a bit tired or derivative, but BLACK ALTAR won me over with their direct and blast-laden songs. Next up is VARATHRON, the Greek legends. Admittedly, I am no authority on this band, but I was honestly blown away. Whereas the earlier VARATHRON I had heard (something with 'crow' in the title) was drowned in keys, this one is more to my liking with a guitar-based approach. 2 original cuts with a third being a fitting cover of the BLACK SABBATH song 'Ancient Warrior'. As with BLACK ALTAR, this is a very professional package from VARATHRON - sounding like they both know how to play their instruments and write a good track. Convincing and, dare I say, fresh Black / Death with some brilliant, scuzzy singing. I'm definitely going to look more into their back catalog now. Closing out the split are 4 songs from the enduring US Black Metal stalwarts, THORNSPAWN. I still enjoy the boiling murder of their last full length "Sanctified By Satan's Blood", so it was a definite treat to see the band was still alive. Vocalist / drummer Blackthorn's singing is more scathing than ever, and the band continues their hateful and bass-heavy mutation of "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" and "Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz". This split is a clear winner for Black Metal enthusiasts. More at: www.facebook.com/pages/black-altar/278830088798838, www.facebook.com/pages/varathron/225214390860932, www.facebook.com/thornspawn, www.odiumrex.com

Dick Osmond

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