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The Fall of the Bastards/ Book of Black Earth split is EVIL! Both bands have good vocals, acoustic guitar/ mandolin (Fall of the Bastards) intros or fills, and very good melodic riffing.
Fall of the Bastards starts their half of the split out with "Slough of the Despondent" which starts out with a mandolin intro, some would just confuse with an acoustic guitar. This intro is very melodic, with moderate changes. It also has some male and female clean vocals similar to the new Fall of the Bastards project "Oakhelm".
The second song Path of the Moon Gods is my favorite song off of the CD because of it extremely melodic riffing It truly has "feeling" to it and the bass behind the guitars is more rhythmic than melodic. The two contrast very well.
The final song by Fall of the Bastards has an awesome combination of galloping riffs, blasting and double bass drumming. Near the end of the song you will hear some melodic up-beats, which are different than allot of black metal I've heard, but is done very well.
As for Book of Black Earths half of the split... this is EVIL!! The first song "Olden" (after an annoying keyboard intro) starts out with a mid paced guitar riff and the keyboards play the most dope tune, trust me its evil as shit! I usually don’t like it when bands play the keyboards at the same time as the guitars but this band can pull it off, even better than Dimmu Borgir in my opinion.
The last song on the split is called "Silent Through the Black Vortex" and this name truly is the mood of Book of Black Earth. They have some of the best lyrics, even though they weren't included in the release you can still decipher some. "Blessed with unholy strength, I'll break the hands of god, I'll break my chains". Every lyric that really stands out is also under layered by a faster keyboard bit. Now the sickest part in the song the drums stop and the guitar plays a fast tremolo picked part and the chilling vocals come in "Venom lay in my blood, ..... in my cold dead body, no heart beats in my cold dead body! After this I could only cringe in fear for the remainder of this blasphemous evil!
The only downsides to the release is that Fall of the Bastards has a combination of a deep death metal vocal, which are cool but also an inhaled scream and the vocalist sounds a bit too much like Dani Filth. As for Book of Black Earth both songs starts out with about a minute of very repetitive keyboards which get annoying.