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Fields of the Nephilim meets Akitsa? Blackened Death Rock meets Dark Noise Metal? Every time I listen to a new Zebulon Kosted Split I am perplexed, this time in a good way, but not always in a good way. Rachid seems to pick a band from a different genre of music every time he releases one of his 25 minute Epics, and this time it worked out well. Eclectic takes on new meaning with this character, and I think he does it to screw with his fans and the music buying public in general!
I'm going to start this review by stating that Arcane Asylum is a quality band, through and through. Vocally you're treated to some very fresh and innovative Black/Gothic ferocity. The guitars are executed for the the first 7 songs on this Split with precision, a lot of melodic leads over top of chunky palm muting and a mid paced feel that doesn't get boring with each new song. I think they used a drum machine for this release, but I'm not sure, it sounds a little too perfect but they achieved a great tone from the machine if that is in fact what the rhythm being heard is. To go back to my first statement the comparison to Fields of the Nephilim is obvious to say the least, but I wouldn't go as far as saying that A.A. is trying to be a copycat. I am eagerly awaiting their Full Length, as I'm sure many people are, and I think if this is a sign of things to come, you may be looking at a band that is really going places. It doesn't hurt when you're close friends with Xasthur either!
I am fascinated by Zebulon Kosted. Many people don't consider what he does "Metal" at all. In a way I can see why that is, but there are very obvious and definite tendencies towards the genre. Some of Rachids Full Lengths and Splits are Dark Ambient synthesizer music. Some are Acoustic Noise music. Many are Black Metal as well. It's confusing when you are ordering, and it can be frustrating having to write to him every time a new release comes out to try and figure out if it's something you really want to buy! On this Split I was pleasantly surprised at how well he mixed all of these different elements into a VERY LONG song. The Acoustic intro leads into the Black Metal section well on the Splits last track, Strength in Troubled Times. Then comes a noise interlude with frightening spoken word, followed with some sort of Horror or Science Fiction movie sample. Then you are taken back into the world of Noise now mixed with Metal. Lastly an interesting Industrial vibe comes through to end the Split. Z.K.s Split with Tomhet was trying to do what this recording achieved, finding a fusion between all of these different sounds and keeping a cohesive mood for the entire song. I am a fan of Zebulon Kosted, and others who have varied musical tastes I think would very much enjoy this release.
All in all the Arcane Asylum half of this Split is stronger than the Zebulon Kosted half, but not by much. Out of the 87 rating given, I would give 45 points to A.A. and 42 to Z.K. This is truly for those who are bored with their 80's Goth collection at the moment and/or are looking for new and interesting forms of Black Metal. Check out Ziekte from The Netherlands for ordering info, they have a few other interesting bands on the label, and keep their prices reasonable.