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Black mismatch - 58%

gasmask_colostomy, June 13th, 2018

Today seems to be split day for me, and who better to write about than the kings of splits, Japan's Abigail? No one, that's who. This time around, Axis of Evil sees Suzuki and Youhei team up with Thurisaz of American black metal outfit Akashah for a short burst of metal. Once again, the two bands don't play in very similar styles, perhaps because no one plays filthy blackened punk metal like Abigail, especially not if one considers that Akashah is closer to the epic end of the black metal spectrum and also includes some folk influence on the one song presented here.

On the other hand, 'Holocaust by Evil' is pretty much the purest black metal song I've heard out of Abigail since our relationship started, grinding along with tremolo riffs and blastbeats, plus raspy cackling vocals that are somewhere close to Ihsahn's on old Emperor albums. The riffs are decent and the pace quick, though given that it's over in under two minutes, it doesn't exactly give the listener long to get into the piece. The title of 'Burning Evil Souls' sounds like it would be equally blackened, yet it plays out more like a dirty heavy metal song with a bit of Venom influence and nasty vocals, as well as a strongly metallic drum sound. The two were probably not recorded at the same time and are both available on other Abigail releases, which makes this split currently of little value.

However, 'The Last of Pagan Kings' provides a bit more bulk, stretching out to over six minutes and (as yet) remaining exclusively available on Axis of Evil, so Akashah's side is a little more satisfying. The sound on this definitely has some Bathory influence and is quite fast-paced though warmer than the majority of black metal, tangling guitars keeping the pounding drums busy, while Thurisaz roars in fierce yet hopeful style. The lead guitar is mixed a little low and the closing downbeat section loses much of the impressive bravado of the first half, though it's a very interesting piece all round. As it is, it's the strongest attraction to a lacklustre split.

-- May Diamhea's feat of 100 reviews in 7 days remain unbeaten --