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Sotajumala and Deathchain have both released splits before. Sotajumala's split with Torture Killer, released just before Torture Killer got Chris Barnes to grunt on their Swarm! full-length, happened conveniently around the same time as Deathchain's split with Deathbound in 2005. Together, the two splits might have given new birth to a tradition of splits among the death metal bands in Finland. They were most likely not motivated by financial constraints, like the low-budget splits of the early metal scene, but by ideology of co-operation, tradition, and pure old-fashioned fun. Both of those splits are good releases.
This time, ghalf a decade later, Sotajumala and Deathchain paired up and produced a split, but with a surprising theme. Both bands provide a single original track and cover versions of old Iron Maiden songs, with guest vocalists. Sotajumala's cover version even holds a mighty surprise, an easter egg of semi-epic proportions!
The original tracks are rather standard fares for both bands. Sotajumala's "Sinun virtesi" conforms to the band's standard old-schoolish US-tinged death metal with a modern sound, and as usual, it aims to crush, pure and simple. In other words, the sound is very heavy, as expected; the song can also be found on the Kuolemanpalvelus full-length. Deathchain's "The Crawling Chaos", which incidentally is also available on their Death Gods full-length, is perhaps closer to pure death metal than their usual "death/thrash" tag would indicate. It's a good track, but just like Sotajumala's song, it's nothing out of the ordinary in the band's menu. So, two songs, both available on full-lenghts released later during the same year? No real value for the fans, just samplers intended for a quick euro or two, to cause premature aging in those who want to own the complete discographies a decade later?
The value of this split hides in the second tracks of both bands, the Iron Maiden cover songs chosen from the band's two first full-lengths, the Paul Di'Anno era Iron Maiden and Killers. The big surprise is "Prowler", covered by Sotajumala: the vocals are by The Man himself, Paul Di'Anno! The circumstances around the visit are nowhere to be found, but the version rejuvenates the ancient track, and from a Paul Di'Anno fan's point of view, perhaps turns this split into a mandatory item to aquire. Deathchain's version of "Purgatory" has to settle for vocals by Tommi "Tuple" Salmela, but it's still a worthy tribute to a great band's early era. It's likely that to most of the bands' members, these songs are important parts of their early metal diets, and chosen for their personal value for the purpose of a tribute.
Yeah, this split would not be bad without the Maiden covers, but it's through them that it achieves true value. The original tracks are available elsewhere, and rather standard works by the bands, but the simple fact of Di'Anno's visit makes this an item worth owning.