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Overall satisfying split - 71%

wakemeup36, November 17th, 2009

This is a split between two underground black metal bands. Carnyx, a one man project with a sound that is like a mixture of DSBM and melodic BM and Mephisophilus, who strive to play in the vein of old school second wave BM.

Carnyx
The first track starts off with basically nothing except lots of random distortion and screams and the whole thing doesen't go anywhere really. Plus, the track is too long for it's own good. 6 minutes of this... I mean, come on! Easily skipable. Then, the second track comes and we finally get to hear what this man is capable of. Quite a typical melodic BM riff and drums come in. The vocals take their qeue and resemble Varg's quite a bit. There are also some clean vocals, though very less, thrown in which ruin the atmosphere.

Lots of riff changes are here and there. Most of them are very melodic and sound very depressive. However, there are a few riffs that go into an awkward happy-ish territory. There are also some random clean/acoustic guitar moments which manage to keep thing interesting. The riffs are quite catchy and memorable. The main riff of 'Fantôme' is quite thrash influenced. The drums are you typical BM repetitive type. The same beat is mostly repeated in the songs. Nothing interesting here. The bass is usually audible and there are a few bass melodies. The last song 'Marine (Beyond the Shores)' has a folky feel to it. Starts with sounds of sea waves and has a flute intro. The whole song has a very happy feel to it. It's pretty midpaced and the use of clean vocals here is a bit too much for a black metal song. Although it's not a bad song, it completely fails as a BM track. Interesting nevertheless as there are a lot of progressions and riff changes throughout the song.

That's pretty much the Carnyx side.

Mephisophilus
Now this is more like it! Old school, uncomprimisngly brutal black metal. The side of the split starts off with some silence and then a destructive thrashy BM riff comes in and melts our faces off. Lots of riff changes and progressions much like Carnyx's side but this time there isn't much emphasis on melody. Not that there isn't any but all of it comes with the intent to destroy rather than add beauty to the songs. Hell there's even a solo (or something resembling a solo) on 'Victorius Nights'. The atmosphere is very dark. The vocals remind me a lot of old school Darkthrone.

The bass is audible but does nothing but stick to the drums and guitars. It basically does what's it's supposed. The drums sound is quite primitive and the drums mostly repetitve with a few fills and time changes here and there. The songs are very powerful even if they aren't unique.

Although this is brilliant old scool BM with a fresh perspective, there are some problems. Firstly, the songs get quite repetitive at times which kind of adds a boring feel. For example, the last track 'Call From The Dying Planet' is over 18 min long. Though there are a lot of progressions and time changes, it just seems a bit dragged on. Secondly, the vocals can get quite monotonous and annoying at certain places. But anyways, this is definitely the better side of the split and is great for what it is. Raw, primitive and old school.


Overall, it's a good split worth getting. It has it's flaws but is quite rewarding after a few listens.