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Noise, Blasts, Life - 70%

PhilosophicalFrog, June 9th, 2015

It's certainly no surprise that Ash Pool and Akitsa would decide to do a split after the relatively successful split between Akitsa and Fernow's noise band Prurient. Naturallly, when he went to create a punky, gloriously riff driven black metal band, it was only a matter of time before Canadian master of no fucks given blackened punk would link up with the peculiar American filth peddlers. The results are a bit uneven, but supremely enjoyable nevertheless. Unfiltered and raw are the first words that come to mind when speaking of Akitsa and Ash Pool - subtle and not so subtle homages to the old greats are hammered together with an undying punk spirit and increasingly primitive delivery. The second set of words would be intensity and enjoyment. The passion of the performances given by these bands are only really matched by their seemingly unending ways of coming up with variations on the same three or four riffs. It's a testament both to the power of power chords and the bands' creativity.

Akitsa's side is a short romp through one of Canada's finest gems - from the blackened minimalism of "Tour de Garde" to the k-holed Stooges trip that is "Voluptes Pestilencielles" - the trip is short, sweet and utterly ass kicking. Akitsa manages to go from marching primal tunes, a la "Tour de Garde" to these catchy, if stupid, songs at the drop of a hat and in a commanding manner. The guitars are these clanging noisy tones played almost drunkenly at times, but the spirit of these northern warriors is infectious, especially on the title track, a definitively punky beast that bucks off a lot of modern trends. The vocal delivery from O.T is howled, distant, and just as powerful as it was on the modern masterpiece, La Grande Infamie, and the atmosphere is dense, but playful.

Ash Pool delivers their most black metal performance yet, the opening tune, "Death Has No Mother" sounds like it could've come directly off of a Darkthrone record, and "The Ash Pool" is a melodic romp through early Swedish black metal worship - complete with a melodic breakdown and minor scaling. "Gemini the Winter Night" is pure USBM though, sounding eerily similar to early Leviathan mixed sweetly with Judas Iscariot - the riff is a spiraling menace, with a slightly shoegazey feel, while the synth used sounds like it's straight from 1994. It's actually one of the better songs Ash Pool has made in the last couple of years, much more focused then the meandering atonal riffs of their earlier work, and the juxtaposition of the melody and the insanity sounds much more cohesive. Between that and the closing track, "De-Stoning the Ephesus House", the listener is treated to what Ash Pool does best - blending noisy, but traditional, black metal, with weird moments of grunge, post-rock, and noise. Tell me that clean vocal part in "De-Stoning" doesn't sound like Weezer on ketamine.

Overall, solid release between two excellent bands. Akitsa's side is a little more throw away than Ash Pool's, but the composition on both sides is creative, powerful, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Akitsa - 6/10
Ash Pool - 8/10

Hence the score.