I, Voidhanger Records, 03.11.17
This self-titled split consists of two American one-man extreme metal bands. The Wakedead Gathering is a death metal band with elements of black, performed by Andrew Lampe from Ohio. The band has been serving shady gods for ten years, and has three full lengths under the bullet belt. Ecferus, a band operating in a blacker scenery, comes from Indiana and consists of Mr. Alp. The band hasn't been active for as many years, but has managed to release a sizeable amount of small releases since 2015. Last year saw a full length followed by two EPs and a split.
Both men in addition have residence in a few other bands.
The Wakedead Gathering kicks off with the song The Blind Abyss, which lasts for 11 minutes and then some. This “tribute” to Azathoth is strongly inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and the music is described by the press-release as cosmic horror. It's a descriptive characterization, for the music moves in an irregular, spasmodic fashion through bizarre nightmares, where the foundation is death metal, while thick, black and dripping tar forms an essential component. The Blind Abyss moves seamlessly through various passages where several different associations occur. The Wakedead Gathering stands firmly on its own feet, though, delivering one nifty track, though the sound could have been a bit less jarring.
Ecferus arrives with this year's second split release, offering three tracks for a total of 14 minutes. The first song Unto Chaos Unraveling quickly reveals that this American belong in charred ruins of the metallic terrain. The black metal we meet is, much like the previous song, of the grisly kind. Ecferus offers a bit better sound as companion to its odious, rasping tones, and Alp delivers killer drive and clever melodies with an eerie whiff of hostility.
I have a taste for the music featured on this 25-minute split, although the music in both bands cases has an unmistakable feel of home-made. A common inconvenience regarding one-man bands, is that one person alone often doesn't master every aspect of instrumentation and production to the fullest. However, both The Wakedead Gathering and Ecferus compose very good material, and for the most part, they deliver very well both instrumentally and soundwise.
PS: Only after having written these words, do I realize that I actually also wrote about Ecferus in January.
Then in connection with the EP Shamaniacal Essence, first released independently a year ago.
Duplicate Records, 22.09.17 Kingdom Of Nothingness is the third album from the Turkish black metal ensemble Zifir. The first album was released ten years ago, the year after the band was initiated by two namesake members. On the debut, a drum machine was used, but before the sequel, Nursuz was hired to beat the skins. When Onur Sülen then pulled out, only Onur Önok and Nursuz remained.
I initially planned on writing about the disc prior to its release, but a combination of lack of time and lack of eagerness over the Turks' black tones, put spokes in the wheels.
After receiving the promo anew, this time directly from the band, I decided to give the album a second chance. Having noted down a few keywords during a couple of new attempts, I give the album the express treatment in a concise impression.
Kingdom Of Nothingness offers mid-tempo, lower tempo and slower tempo black metal with a focus on moods. Nothing wrong with that, but the moods the band convey, and the melodies they wrap the product in, don't appeal all that much. There are songs and sequences with nifty drift, but overall, too much of the content becomes relatively simple and generic.
The press release from the original promo specifically mentions the song 769, something I can understand. This one begins slowly and ritually, and forms hypnotic moods before it toward the end offers contrasts with catchy, scorched drive. Unfortunately, the remaining material alternates in quality and expression without entirely pressing the right buttons. Some parts captivates slightly. Others don't really impress.
All in all, I consider Kingdom Of Nothingness to be a bit weak, and in the big picture, it therefore falls through.
Ergo, the strictest rating feels most appropriate, although it isn't completely representative of the content.
As usual, you should form your own opinion. For you wouldn't trust an anonymous source on the internet blindly...?
You'll find more metal from Zifir on their Bandcamp.