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A New Black Death Parade - 85%

televiper11, July 3rd, 2013

I love checking out splits. Stormcrow and Laudanum are new bands to me, both heavily pimped on-line and by friends and acquaintances. But how best to get acquainted? Oh, they shared a split? Perfect. You have to put your best foot forward on a split, hoping to catch an ear and sway it towards your full-length. I grabbed this split from 20 Buck Spin's Bandcamp and have listened to it non-stop for over a week. It's the kind of killer split I love: two bands from differing yet slightly overlapping genres dishing out their best stuff.

Stormcrow couldn't be more suited to me: ultra-grim, desolate d-beat crust leavened with a heavy Bolt Thrower influence and some reeking, gloomy doom to boot. Imagine Disrupt, Asphyx, and Winter being blended together and covered by Bolt Thrower. Yeah, these guys kill. "A New Black Death" roars out a thrashing d-beat attack before slowing down and incorporating some dark melodic leads. The vocalist has a heaving, lumbering voice that eschews typical crust vocal cliches for a more straight-forward death metal approach. "Reflection Of Shit" has a creeping sludge intro before transitioning into a riff that could've come outta early Florida death metal, they flay that for a few moments before going straight d-beat and then alternating between. To be clear, Stormcrow aren't doing anything particularly innovative here and their influences weigh heavy on their sleeves but I am intrigued and will gladly seek more.

Laudanum are in another place entirely. The first words that come to mind are heavy and weird. Like hearing Godflesh for the first time in '89 heavy and weird. Not that Laudanum really sounds like Godflesh but they do have that down-tuned, dissonant, noisey vibe going for them. "Omega" takes over four minutes to get going, wrapped tight in a jarringly heavy and abrasive stew of slow-moving doom. Distorted and ominous bass lines rise to the fore before ushering in harsh and blackened rasps of contorted agony and despair. "Transfiguration" is odder still, instrumental except for some textured, atmospheric whispers, screams, and roars. Gloomy tribal drums and eery synths predominate, the guitars are white hot static and the occasional corrosive chord held out in dissonance until atrophy and decay sink it beneath surface. Very few bands can pull off a sound like this and get away with it. Laudanum most impressively can and I will seek their records in earnest.

"A New Black Death"/"Reflection Of Shit": 82%
"Omega"/"Transfiguration": 87%
Total: 84.5% (rounded up)