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After enjoying the recent Dark Totality demo from the UK's Livimørket, I decided to check out this split with US Deafest, and was pleasantly surprised here by both bands. Each is offering two tracks, for a total playtime of 33 minutes.
Deafest hail from Colorado; they've already issued a few full-lengths, and appeared on some splits. They play a brand of spacious, atmospheric black metal with guiding melodies, and conceptually exploring the North American wilderness. "From Subterranean Seeds to Supporting the Sky" begins with a creeping, beautiful landfill of raw guitars, slowly transforming riffs over crashing live drums, which often makes breaks into faster territory. It's a glorious track even without vocals, but I feel they might have enriched it. "The Coyote and the Valley" features tranquil, lush acoustics and driving melodic passages, and there are a few harsh vocals. The tracks are certainly good enough that I want to check out more from the band, since this is my first exposure.
Livimørket offer a two-parter, the "Crucible of Spirits", and while their style is a bit more distant and grim, their guitar tones and occasional use of wondrous acoustics do match up with Deafen's material. Both halves of "Crucible of Spirits" add up to 20 minutes length and embark the listener on a sonic excursion through distant, violent landscapes that are often breached for minimal passages with scintillating post-rock acoustic atmosphere and light percussion. The second half of the track is heavier, transforming from slower, doom rhythms draped in melody to a driving passage which feels like it's being played at you through a cavern high in a windy mountain range.
Both of these young bands excel here, and any fan of independently produced black metal that balances depressive emotions and an exploration of the natural world would be wise to check them out. A very tasteful split, relaxing yet never void of hints at the greater darkness to come.