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Sleeptime - 72%

Desesperanza, January 10th, 2011

Very interesting split from The Ajna Offensive, here we have four bands which apply esoteric and occultist temathics on their works. The graphic artwork and booklet details are made with outstanding effort, but lets talk about the music.

First Saturnalia Temple begins with an evident heavy metal influenced riff which seems to be the nest from which the melodies are then born. Ultra-slow progressive structure, taking advantage of stereo panning. Bass is not easily audible, the rythm guitar does the work of mantaining low notes all throughout the song. Vocals appear until the sixth minute sounding very moany and not doing any extraordinary effort. The song creates a very somnolient state of mood, probably appreciated by some stoner and doom metal adepts.

Suddenly the despondent mood will end. As Nightbringer attacks with a blast of a powerful black metal storm which sounds somewhat atmospheric but agressive and intelectual. While more chords are used there lays the mid-high pitched string making epic melodies that melt over the entire atmosphere. The usual Nightbringer speech-like hellish vocals and blast beat drumming that fit correctly with the tremolo-picked bass and the reverberated guitars. This is definitely the highlight that makes the entire split breathe life.

Nihil Nocturne is next with an ambient intro that continues with a very raw black metal where the difference to their other work is that instead of being so agressive, this song seems to be more a ballad. Well done bass work (finally), well done vocal work and well done drumming work. Guitars are completely satisfying and there is also synth being used outside the ambient parts yet its very discrete. "To Dare" seems to be the mature song on the split and manages to wield a balance between melancholic and active feeling.

By last we have Aluk Todolo, an experimental rock-like band. Its obvious that this release will be of black metal listeners' interest so I don't fully understand the purpose of this band's participation on it. Investigating, Aluk To Dolo is a religious way of living, proper of ancient civilizations in Indonesia and nowadays almost extinct. Musically its guitar work is delicious for having it as background, with the echoey melodies very well made. Drums and bass are too much repetitive on their rythm and there are no vocals used.

To conclude: This release is made for a more decaying state of mind eventhrough it isn't depressive in anyway.