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Southern Fried Metal Split - 70%

Shadoeking, May 21st, 2009

This is split album featuring two Southern United States bands going in opposite directions: Goatwhore, the black/death metal band from Louisiana, and Epoch of Unlight, a melodic death metal band from Tennessee. At the time of its release, neither band was particularly well-known.

Epoch of Unlight came with the much longer track record, having been together since 1993 and having already produced two full length albums, and EP, and a few demos. However, they have only released one full length since this split in 2003. Goatwhore, on the other hand, had been around since 1997 but only had a demo and one full length under their belt. They would go on to release three more albums to date after this split and are signed to Metal Blade Records.

This split is comprised of three cover songs: one by Goatwhore and two by Epoch of Unlight. It is a decent split of two distinctly different sounding bands but is by no means an essential pickup unless one is a completist of either of the two bands. Even then, the Goatwhore track appears on the Japanese version of Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun.

Goatwhore covers Celtic Frost classic "Into the Crypt of Rays". They do a great job with the track. It manages to sound both like Goatwhore and like Celtic Frost, not an easy task. Goatwhore brings its trademark Southern swagger to the song and Ben Falgoust's well-known husky growling vocals. The proto-death metal riffs gallop along just as Celtic Frost played them. The major differences between the original and this version is the vocals and the fact that Goatwhore just seems to have a certain, unnameable quality that shows where they are from. Almost all Lousiana bands have this same quality, it must be the way they play the guitars with a type of bluesy swing to them.

Epoch of Unlight does not fare as well in their two tracks. They chose to cover "Betrayer" by Kreator and "Raped by the Light of Christ" by At the Gates. Epoch does not possess the speed riffing ability to pull off an early Kreator track, and as a result, the song sounds sluggish. Not the best way to cover Kreator. The riffs are there, but slowed down, the vocal delivery does not come close to matching the sheer ferocity of Kreator. They do a little bit better with the At the Gates song, but it is so short, much shorter than the original, that it ceases to be memorable and flies by in a blur. Epoch is a little more adept at aping At the Gates than Kreator. It is good for a band to put their own spin on a cover track, but when it flies in the face of the meaning of the original song, it's better to not even attempt it. This is the problem with the Kreator cover.

All in all, I would have to give this a decent score, but almost solely because of the Goatwhore cover. Goatwhore outperforms Epoch of Unlight on this split.