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Good Split from Very Different Black Metal Bands - 80%

Shadoeking, May 21st, 2009

This is a split album between Abominator, one of the leaders in Australian “war metal” scene and the Swedish melodic black/death metal band Mornaland. Neither band was particularly well-known at the time of this split’s release, although they have since gone in separate directions. Abominator has thrived in the scene that it helped to spawn, releasing four full-length albums while Mornaland released an EP and a couple of demos following the split and then broke up.

Mornaland plays first on the split, providing seven songs. Their sound is very similar to other Swedish black/death metal bands like Naglfar, Dissection, and Lord Belial. They attack the listener with swirling tremolo riffs played over constantly blasting drums. There is a lot of melody going on with the rest of the music. The band is a little calmer and not as aggressive as Dissection, but they still play at a moderate tempo most of the time, although they do occasionally break out a faster song. They are not a completely relaxing band to listen to, but compared to the other band on the split, they are much more passive.

The vocals are delivered in a fairly typical rasp that does bring to mind their countrymen as well as second wave of black metal vocalists from Norway. The lyrics are easily understood. The most interesting point with the vocals is on the track “Silent Forest” with the clean, melancholic vocals in the chorus. It gives the song an eerie feeling.

The production on the album is crisp and clear. No one instrument is higher in the mix than any other and all instruments can be heard well. This is a very good recording by an unknown band.

Abominator comes rumbling in ready for battle after Mornaland’s half is over and this band is significantly more aggressive. Abominator’s six tracks all came from one of their demos. The band plays an extreme, hateful mix of thrash, black, and death metal with lyrics focusing on war, death, and anti-christian themes.

The first track is a bit of a spooky ambient intro with deep growling vocals. Then gunshots ring out, spoiling the uneasy serenity. The band charges in with blast beats and a blazing guitar solo. The singer roars a few times and the band never slows down from here. The drumming is raw and unchecked in its brutality. The drummer holds nothing back as he pounds away. Guitar riffs twist and coil around the rhythm section with intermittent squealing solos. The vocals remain at a deep guttural roar throughout.

The songs are all performed at incredibly fast speeds and those speeds are maintained sometimes for five minutes at a time. The songs are chaotic and powerful, the soundtrack to an extremely violent and bloody battlefield. The sound quality is often a little murky, but it sounds right with the music. All the listener can hear is the violence and aggression behind the music.

These two bands are markedly different even though they share influences from death and black metal. Where Mornaland is somewhat somber and melodic, Abominator is intense and chaotic. Abominator probably wins this split, acting like a steamroller over the listener.