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Sombre Records was really busy during the late 1990s and early 2000 releasing a whole bunch of godly bands' music on vinyl and tapes. They did a three part series of 4 way splits on 7” vinyl titled Black Metal Endsieg I – III. This is Endsieg I and features the bands S.V.E.S.T., Katharsis, Warloghe and Black Witchery.
The mysterious Satanas Vobiscum Et Spiritum Tuo (more commonly known as S.V.E.S.T.) play black metal out of France. “The Alpha Wolf's Anger” is the most carefully structured and executed song on Black Metal Endsieg I. The guitar work is intricate and multi-faceted, progressing and varying (dare I say delicately?) in a medley of madness. The vocals are cavernous and remind me of the voicework from Lugburz-era Summoning. It's just an exciting track through and through. From start to finish the listener is captivated and taken for an energetic ride. These guys know how to add a variety of musical elements together properly, be it twisted melodies, spirited riffs, and great solos ( I swear I've heard that solo later in a Drudkh song).
Katharsis' “Lacerating the Angels” gets off to a sudden start. It's quite a zippy song, reeking of underground eliteness, chaos, and control. Drakh's vocals ring out superbly, accompanied by cold snap riffs and crushing drums. It's a war hymn, simple as that. They have moved ever so slowly away from their Darkthrone worship sound and bears more resemblance to Kruzifixxion than to 666. It's fairly short, lasting only about three minutes, and I would have liked to hear it stretched out to about five, but thus are the constraints of a four-way split. Katharsis has matured a good deal since their demo years and tracks like these are only just a glimmer of the wonder to come from their next three full-lengths.
Warloghe is either a hidden gem or an overrated pile of paska depending on one's opinion on Finnish black metal. Their contribution “Visions of Carnage and Impurity” is a rocking song with a ton of potential. The music alternates between morose tremolo passages and a head-banging main riff. I enjoyed it, although there are several ways Warloghe could have pushed this song from “good” to “great”. The first would be to put more emotion and power into the vocals. Glaurung is a lazy vocalist on most of their releases and unfortunately I can't say differently about this track. The drums could be more pronounced as well. And as always the production value could have been stronger. “Visions of Carnage and Impurity” is not filler material, but it's definitely nothing too special.
Closing the compilation is the only band from the United States ever to be featured on an Endsieg split. Now Black Witchery is by no means one of my favorite bands - they rarely entertain me - but their track “Destruction Of The Holy Kingdom Which Spawned The Cursed Trinity Of God” (phew) is actually very decent! The reason why I say this is mostly due to the fact that it doesn't really sound like a traditional Black Witchery song, but let's give credit where it's due. Good job guys. It has intelligible riffs, drumming variations, and an overall melody, something virtually unheard in most of the band's outputs. The plucked clean guitar melody soaring over the chaotic pounding towards the end of the song was definitely going out on a limb for them, and it's good to take risks because when they pay off, oh do they pay off. By far the best Black Witchery song in my opinion.
Breathe a sigh of relief, the grueling track-by-track is done! In summary, side A is stronger by a long shot, thanks to Katharsis' consistency and S.V.E.S.T.'s amazing effort. This is the best of the three 7”s and would be a great piece for any true fans of the above bands to own. Unfortunately it was limited to a scant 350 copies, it's quite hard to get a hold of, but you know you want to!