I like this kind of releases. Especially when there is some kind of concept involved. I get to know a couple of new bands on one CD and when they are linked together with their country of origin, or something similar, I get a quick lecture on the underground scene of the said country. I just hope none of the bands gets offended if I place them all in Spain. We all know how easy it is to offend people these days. Even some who claim to be Metalheads. I just really don’t want to go into the political situation.
Judaswiege is the youngest horde presented on the disc. Their name translates (from German) to the cradle of Judas, a torture instrument used by the Spanish inquisition. The whole thing about the name reminded me of a certain someone, but that is for me to know and for you to find out. 3 years old duo opens the split and does so with relentless ferocity. Speaking of which, someone did one hell of a job creating the order in which the bands appear, so you get from the full on assault to dreadful atmosphere and a chaos inducing finale, all within the hour of the play time.
Judaswiege displays a combination of first and second wave Black Metal, infused with a whole lot of Thrash and Speed Metal. Decent level of creativity puts them aside of all the Darkthrone or Venom wannabes. They put some thought into the riffing which is melodic at times but mostly cold and razor sharp. I would prefer a more confident and stronger vocal performance, but other than that, the duo makes a fine introduction to the release. By the way, the lyrical obsession with the torture apparatus of the middle age is obvious. I didn’t get the lyrics so I can’t say for sure, but I hope they did a good job mixing them along such forceful music.
Moribundo is a Spanish word for dying. And they do force death down your throats! Old school Death/Doom Metal, as heavy as 6 feet of dirt on top of your casket. Slow, atmospheric and painful! A whole ton of music laid down on your unsuspecting soul! Skillfully arranged tracks to avoid any moment of boredom lead you through your last moments. Moribundo can go faster at which point they tend to appear more along the Black Metal lines but it is, again, inserted in the song with a careful plan and serve the general purpose. The whole thing is laden with chants and keyboards to enhance the already difficult to process atmosphere. This is not for the weak minds. Brilliant! Oh, and there is a Napalm Death cover to finish their part of the split. The longest version of “You Suffer” ever recorded!
For a moment there I thought Sonambula will go along the similar lines as Moribundo. And then the atmospheric intro on keyboards turned into a Death Metal thunderstorm! Simple yet effective, European influenced Death Metal, perhaps lacking some personal identity but I don’t think their plan is to go that way in any case. Sonambula delivers some powerful tunes with lots of tempo changes. You cannot but headbang with some intensity to music like this. They do not go for the melodies too often, but they never forget to bring out all the power their instruments can produce. This is another name worth remembering.
The oldest (though just 8 years old) of the bunch closes the release. Reading the band name and song titles I got a completely different picture than the one the music is telling me. Still, I cannot comment of the concept (and their songs do bear some sort of a concept) as I don’t have all the information necessary for it. Borderline Funeral Doom Metal with some indication of Black Metal to spice things up. I’m certainly not the biggest fan of such music but Barbarian Swords managed to “move me”. Depressive atmosphere rules here. No, there aren’t any technical novelties or theatrical exhibitions. This quintet puts the emphasis on the deep sounds. Bass guitar often leads the way, along with the drums, up until the guitars take over with their fine-tuned melodic riffing. The second track slowly leads into a complete second wave Black Metal inferno that perfectly closes the record.
All of the mentioned hides behind a beautifully drawn cover by Cesar Valladares, depicting a four-headed dragon devouring the unfortunate souls. Mastering of the release was placed in more than capable hands of Javi Felez (Graveyard, Korgull The Exterminator,…) and his Moontower studios to guarantee the sheer weight this album carries within.
Overall, this is one hell of a release. Whatever your genre preferences, you can definitely find something for your taste. Or if you are just curious about what is going on in Spain at the moment. I will certainly look for further releases by the participants. In my musical spectrum there is enough room for all of them.