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The latest split release put forth by Hypothermia, features depressive black metal duo, Black Howling. They have a very similar, though overly more agressive, style of black metal in comparison to Hypothermia, and I think it goes without question; it's thoroughly enjoyable. I see the Hypothermia tracks as some sort of continuation from Gråtoner. They're improvised and possess the same acoustic, dark atmospheric passages that Gråtoner did. Though, as I'll get into later on, they're missing something, the captivating feature which Grätoner possessed. Both acts on this split are very closely related. Which is odd, Hypothermia seem to have a tendency to split with other obscure type's of black metal, generally Black Metal bands that have an overall more aggressive nature. Black Howling do have a more aggressive sound, but it's unmistakably depressive black metal, which Hypothermia doesn't split with all to often.
The first half of this split, the Black Howling contributions are somewhat reminiscent of French black metal, specifically the LLN. The huge atmospheres, piss-poor production and interesting compositions all suggest this band is from France. Unbelievable, of all the places in the world, Black Howling hails from Portugal. The first song, entitled '...en Sangue' resembles the likes of Moevot, the clean, sole guitar, accompanied by nothing other than poor production. The song eventually progresses into unmistakable depressive black metal, which as said, possesses a huge atmosphere. The vocals, drums and guitars are all up to par with some of the best, in particular the solid execution of the vocals are impressive and odd riffs, which stray afar from the herd. The second song, dubbed A Noite Efémera, is vaguely more interesting. It is far more emotionally draining, than '...en Sangue' and even more original. The guitars play out of tune sounding riffs, the vocals are far more versatile and emotional and the drums, whilst not technical, play a simplistic style that manages to compliment all the happenings around it. Definitely the stand out track for Black Howling.
The Hypothermia side of the split is an interesting one to dissect. At first you'll notice that, in some sense, it's continuing in the vein of Gråtoner, which in itelf is great. The improvised approach to music (nothing can compete with completely improvised music), the use of a clean guitar tone, aswell as the distorted tones, the screams spread right out through the music, it's all here Unfortunately, the second thing you'll notice, is the complete lack of drive and motivation it seemingly doesn't have. Which is a sad thing to admit, but this is really one of Hypothermia's weakest releases since the first demo releases. The vocals are great, the music is great, but the diversity and the aspects of what made Gråtoner cold and daunting, simply aren't here. The muddy atmosphere and the overall 'warm' tone of it all don't do much, and rarely do I find myself listening to the already forgotten Aprilimprovisations. The second improvisation, in comparison to the first, is much more enjoyable, it's got a catchy (for lack of better word) beat, and it's more depressive, via happiness; though, once again - in comparison. Perhaps I had set my expectations far too high after the infamous Gråtoner, but this really is somewhat of a disappointment.
A decent release overall, Black Howling defied expectations, whilst Hypothermia was somewhat of a let down. A great release, even if for only Black Howling. However, Hypothermia's next release Kaffe & Blod, show the band never lost it... god damnit, I've only heard the exerpt and it's clearly even better than Gråtoner!