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Slovenia Undivine - 80%

DarkThrone1985, January 6th, 2011

This 12 inch, 180-gram vinyl split release on Mater Tenebrarum features the royalty among the Slovenian black underbrush.

The split is kicked off by Grimoir, whose black metal is heavily permeated with anti-human sentiments, obscurity and death. Founded in 2006, the band released their first demo in 2009. The line-up consists of Mgla (vocals), Gremmsekath (guitars), Simurgh (guitars), Hexer (bass) and Svarog (drums). The track “A Journey to Oblivion” opens this four-way split in the best way possible. After several seconds of static noise due to the powerful screams of Mgla and the obscure wall of sound erected by the rest of the band, the composition starts its long journey. Notable are the screams of the singer, the extraordinary aural construction, the faultless guitar input of Simurgh, and the relentless drumming of Svarog. The rhythm of the song is powerful and violent. Regardless the numerous stylistic variations, the song remains focused from beginning to end, eliciting pathos from the listener throughout its duration. Great songwriting, paired with excellent vocals which only enhance the perfect structural composition.

Once the blessed aural destruction of the first band is finished, the second band kicks in – Krvnik. Formed in 2009, the band consists of M.K. (vocals and bass), I.J. (guitars), J.C.(drums), A.D. (guitars), and lyrically focuses on blasphemy, anti-Christianity and negativity. Their first full-length, recorded just before this split, is a release I would heavily recommend to all insatiable lovers of the blackest flame. They confirm their greatness on the Covenant of the Undivine as well, Prophecies so Horrid being negativity and blasphemy at its purest state. Splendid screaming, incessant the rhythm created by the guitars, bass and drums; JC really outdid himself behind the drum set. The numerous rhythmic as well as stylistic changes present in the song make it very interesting. The substance of the song, however, remains unchanged – a pure punch in the face from beginning to end.

Once the cavalry charge of Krvnik is over, the third act, Samomor, creeps in. Formed in 2008, the duo consisting of Morph AZ (vocals, guitars, bass) and Flagellator (drums) released their first EP in 2009. Their lyrical focuses are self-destruction, death, and satanism. A project completely different from the previous two, their genre of black metal comes very close to depressive. Good the achieved ambiance, notable in their simplicity the guitar riffs, particular the screaming voice of Morph AZ, alternating between recitals and deeper parts, in which screams transmute into depth-less growls. A claustrophobic and overpowering track which drags the listener into an endless vortex of depression.

The last band on the split are Somrak. Formed in 2001 and releasing their first material in 2002, their first full-length dates to 2007, a black pearl called The Abhorred Blessings. Their lyrical themes are death, satanism and aversion. The line-up consists of J.D. (vocals), A.D. (guitars), J.P. (bass) and M.C. (drums). Hear the Prayers Scorn entails diabolic rhythm, the drums unleashing an unforgivable storm on the listener, fettering him from the beginning until the end of the song. Perfect scream vocals, excellent the rhythmic bass line, notable guitar chops, direct and elegant at the same time. A marvelous track which in over seven minutes conveys the personal vision of black metal of the last band on the split. Hats off!

Four excellent project of the Slovenian black underground have spawned four excellent tracks. Congratulations to Mater Tenebrarum for having brought together these black royalties on the split. Strongly recommended.

Disappointing Showcase - 45%

Five_Nails, September 7th, 2010

Grimoir- “A Journey to the Oblivion”: Grimoir opens their song with some rather simple harmonized riffing though played with very fast tremolo picking, focusing largely on aesthetic with drumming too slow to punctuate such fast tremolo picked riffs. The band combines high wailing riffing and low chugs well, but provide too much of a distinction between them to be effective in the mix. The riffs don’t break their harmony until four minutes into the song with drum blasting joining them at 4:10 but the drums are just too slow to hold down the treble flow. The band continues with a strong progression that, though driven by some quick double bass kicking, doesn’t balance out the high end with much originality from the snare and cymbals as they plod along until a large cymbal fill. Fills in general are pretty simple, the kinds of fills one would hear from an early death metal band but with the desolate ambiance of black metal blasting. The vocals are gruff combination of gutturals and gravely, desolate yells which fit perfectly in the band’s sound and are thick with accent. The riffing closes the song well, but the drums seem to lose their rhythm quickly in this rising section and seem to completely break down attempting another large, low roll with rhythms too simple to end the song strongly. In all, this is some pretty general black metal that doesn’t break the mold or bring too much to the table. Grimoir could do much better, but so far the band seems to have only the treble down right.

Krvnik- “Prophecies so Horrid”: Featuring terrible vocals, Krvnik doesn’t impress at all. There is a good but simple drum build on the second progression, but over the percussion the riffing gets boring quickly and repeats up to eight times per progression. The breakdown at around three minutes is obnoxious with annoying screaming from the vocals, slow, monotonous drumming, and emotionless treble with a couple of nearly inaudible guitar deviations here and there to break the harmony. When the band kicks back up, it’s not much of a rise as the drums don’t follow the riffing at all. They’re about two steps behind each guitar movement and stop in mid cycle when the song ends. The cohesion isn’t there with Krvnik’s “Prophecies so Horrid” and it proves to be the biggest detriment to the band’s sound.

Samomor- “Moonrisen Blackhearts”: Where the other songs on this split had potential in their templates but were held back by individual members of each band, Samomor breaks the mold with a terrible template combined with good performances from the rest of the band. This slow song that kicks into mid-paced rises has too much focus on aesthetic and becomes technically deficient. For one of the shortest songs on the split, “Moonrisen Blackhearts” sounds very long and boring. The emotion is very fabricated, hinging on whispering and too many held notes from the vocals and very repetitive ambient guitars that take prominence over the drums, which do well to hold down the mix. As the song rises into its first progression, the guitars incorporate a few tremolo sections into their riffs, but repeat so many times that the meter rises very little. The drums add only double bass kicking to their rhythms and don’t deviate into rolls, fills, or new rhythms at all, and the vocals are very annoying elongated notes that follow into the drop of the song. The progressions are simple, spontaneous changes from a slow, ambient meter to a faster rise, but don’t hit very hard. When the song progresses into a marching snare beat with simple guitar notes is when I’m completely lost. It has nothing to do with the song, doesn’t help the song at all, bridges into another slow section, and though followed well by the drums changing from snare to double bass marching, is a very boring directional change. On “Moonrisen Blackhearts”, the members of the band do well with a cohesive delivery, but the song itself suffers greatly from an overall boring approach that doesn’t distinguish the slower parts from the faster sections and is rather insincere with its attempted desolate and cold ambiance.

Somrak- “Hear the Prayers Scorn”: Starting with a good harmony between guitars and bass featuring drifting flourishes while backed up by some standard black metal drumming that cycles nine times to fill the first minute of the song, Somrak impresses quickly in “Hear the Prayers Scorn” and stands out with the band’s textured approach to black metal. Though repetitive, there are plenty deviations of style in the drumming and riffing to keep each cycle refreshing and sounding new though the drums fail to fill between cycles and elements of the treble that do come up, quickly fall back into the harmonized sound. This is a song to fall into with a strong ambiance driven by a constantly drifting focus on individual instruments. Progressions strongly keep the meter regulated while changing the emotional deliveries of the instruments keeping this song raw and straightforward but also drifting and deviating well. The vocals are screeched over the top of the mix and, like Pest of Gorgoroth, adding a chilling atmosphere to the song’s direction. While this song is the longest on the split, it seems the shortest with such a great delivery and such a cohesive band that includes all the instruments in its texture.

Of the four bands on this split, Somrak is the only one to really impress. While these four bands all have potential, Samomor is the weakest with a tedious template despite the band’s strong musicianship, Grimoir shows ability but with too simple an approach, and Krvnik sounds overall pretty contrived. It’s nowhere near the best black metal around, but these bands at least understand the general construction.

Gathering of the worst Slovenian black metal! - 25%

Lucifer656, May 21st, 2010

I got a copy of Covenant of the Undivine from a friend of mine from Slovenia with the aim to explore what I should expect and what had to offer me this black metal attack made by Slovenian black warriors, but with this release from Mater Tenebrarum the whole intent literally crushed me down.

The first spell on this 7” is deported by Grimoir whom fashioned me the first minutes I heard their early material on myspace but with this version of A Journey into Oblivion they leave nothing but pure misery (in worst sense) as the songs is a pure plastic-product with no feelings and essence. Check out their demo on myspace before listening to this songs and then compare them. I`m sure you will find out what I try to explain.

Krvnik which are known to me well are the new upcoming desecrator from Slovenia whom changed name (and style) from Vinternatt (depressive suicide black metal) to Krvnik (“true” black metal) which serves us with a song that could possibly had the potential to crush some bones but the lack of talent and timing of the drummer drive the whole song into pure shame. It’s hard to understand with what determination he overhauls the rhythm all over the songs as he definitely need more practice and to learn some drum basics. Typically I’m not that kind of guy whom trip on such things but here the case is highly critical including all the drum crossing fails, mistakes and double drums problems.

Another funny thing I discovered is that the guitarist of Somrak (also on this split) is in Krvnik too which leads me to think of his strong influences on other members cause basically this new Krvnik song is a Somrak clone. The band also changed the name Vinternatt to a Slovenian-themed name alike Somrak (anyway who will be able to pronounce names such Somrak and Krvnik besides Slovenian speaking people? But maybe this is just me being no-cult). Besides all Krvnik also changed names such Hornseth into "mature" names like M.K., I.J. etc.

The third bullet on Covenant of the Undvine is shot by Samomor which is the most boring song on the entire release and beside this I don’t have much to say. The drumming is probably produced with Drumkit from Hell or something alike and the guitar rhythmic are so fucked up – song with no clue & importance.

The fourth and last on this 7” are Somrak which were formed in 2001. 10 years passed since their uncreation (like they want to hear) and they achieve nothing. Sad but true. Besides few demos, a full-length release on an underground label (and when I say underground I mean underground! None one knows it) they bring us the last attack on this release with a song that not differ much from their full-length The Abhor Blessings, expect from that I appreciate lots more their full-length as the song on Covenant of the Undivine. Simple because the songs on The Abhor Blessings are less boring and repetitive along with the fact that the whole vocals are more dedicated!

Seems that Mater Tenebrarum gathered the worst of black metal that can be found in Slovenia expect Grimoir which disillusioned me anyway as I expected to hear something much more oriented ahead on the way that can be tasted on their early demos.

Honestly I don’t know what to say. If you intend to check out some great black metal warriors from ex-Yugoslavian territories you shall take a look at legends The Stone and at the new discover of Moribund Records Bleeding Fist both from Serbia or Torka from Slovenia as these are some of few dark flames that nowadays fire the true black metal spirit.

Waste of my money. AMEN