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Two Thirds Crap - 50%

Sternodox, September 10th, 2006

This Woodcut Records split consists of three bands: O, Black Dawn, and Enochian Crescent.

O
Although this band apparently shares members with ... And Oceans, there is little similarity between the two bands, other than a bit of techno thrown into the opening of one of O's songs. The first song begins with an edited sample of some preacher talking about music and Satan, which seques into a pretty standard (and short) Black Metal song. Forgettable. Next up is a mid-paced, down-tuned Black Metal number containing some annoying feedback overlaying standard, not very innovative riffing. O ends its section of the split with another blast fest, generic BM vocals, and nothing very special.

Black Dawn
The back panel lists this band as Black Dawn and the insert lists them as The True Black Dawn, so who knows? The first song begins with some Beherit-style whispering that instills a false hope that the song will be something special. No such luck. The riffing is just OK and kinda punkish, but the lame tick-tick blasting on the drums quickly turns to irritation. More whispering leads into song two which, as it turns out, is ... nothing. No song. Just a few seconds of whispering. Totally wasted track. The rest of this mess sounds like a low-fi, BM version of Strapping Young Lad's City, except with awful drumming and some of the most nails-on-chalkboard vocals I've ever heard. It sounds as if Black Dawn (or True Black Dawn, who knows?) can't decide whether to play punk, grindcore, crust or Black Metal. Next.

Enocian Crescent
Finally we get to the good stuff. The always excellent Enochian Crescent starts things off by jumping right into familiar territory with some progressive Black Metal riffing laying the foundation for an inventive combination of BM shrieks and beer hall chanting. Excellent bass guitar and drum work on this cut. EC's next cut erupts with a flailing run of BM chording that progresses right into a bit of very clear and well-played sweep picking. It sounds like half a roomful of people are singing on the choruses which lends an anarchic atmosphere to an already pretty "out there" tune. Production on this, as on all the EC cuts on this split, is uniformly excellent and powerful.

The final cut (and the best) begins with a vibrato-laden arpeggio that sounds like it could have been pulled from some 60s surf band! The BM heaviness weaves in and out of the song's structure, again injected with excellent bass and drums. Structurally, this is by far the most interesting song on the split, and one of the best things Enochian Crescent has ever done. The juxtaposition of the "surf guitar" with the more chaotic metal portions creates an unusual musical treat that is powerful, unusual, and just plain crazy. This song veers back and forth between BM heaviness and a very cool waltz-time melodic line that ends this split a hell of a lot better than it began.

Breakdown:

O - 15/100
Black Dawn - 0/100
Enochian Crescent - 80/100

If you're an Enochian Crescent fanatic and must have everything the band has ever done, then you might want to pick this up. Otherwise, don't bother.