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Al Namrood Is All You Came For - 35%

psychoticnicholai, July 24th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2008, Cassette, Salute Records (Limited edition)

Splits like this are normally done to connect the fanbases of bands together, especially if those bands are in a similar style. Case in point, Narcotized is a split tape featuring anti-islamic black metal bands from the Middle East. Saudi notables, Al Namrood are likely the reason you even know about this split at all, as they are the most unique band on here and the most popular, playing a variety of gritty black metal with heavy Arabic folk elements. The other bands on here aren't as popular and don't distinguish themselves all that much. They are Dhul-Qarnayn (an atmospheric black metal band from Bahrain) and Ayyur (some Deathcrush lovers from Tunisia). They don't have an identity like Al Namrood does, nor do they have nearly as much talent as them. Out of all four of the songs on Narcotized, three fail, and that makes this split fail, as it feels like one band schooling the other two, leaving the last 3 quarters of the split feel like they're wasting your time. This is not something I'd suggest searching for.

The entries on this split at least feel very distinct from one another, with Al Namrood giving the best performance. On "Barzakh" you get a nice helping of swirling and vicious Arabic melodies and a nice, dark performance accented by some mystic flute keyboards with plenty of effort put into the song. Al Namrood makes a real statement on this split, and establish themselves as the best of the bunch right out of the gate. This is a real shame, as the other bands do not fare well at all.

With Dhul-Qarnayn and their sonic ventures, we see a noticeable drop in quality to the point of incompetence. "Suqoot Allah" is the worst song on Narcotized by far. It starts off with samples of gunfire and explosions only to progress towards a terrible take on Filosofem-era Burzum with production that stings your ears and melodies that go nowhere, only to the descend into moan-worthy generic blast beats and repetitive tremolos that do nothing for the song at all. On top of all that, the second half of this 8 minute song is just sound effects like choirs and organs that have some atmosphere at first, but then just drone on and on until the song finally ends. "Suqoot Allah" is only good for testing your patience and certainly doesn't make me want to learn more about Dhul-Qarnayn.

The final two entries on here come from Ayyur, who play messy black metal a la (very) early Mayhem. What they put out on their two songs varies from boring to just outright sloppy. If they were trying to capture the sound of a bad late 80's black metal demo, I guess they succeeded. Unfortunately for anyone who might be curious enough to investigate this, this means that all that will await you is amateurish, off-time, badly tuned, and badly performed slop. Ayyur do not do themselves proud at all with their performance on Narcotized.

I can say with earnest that this split is not worth your time. The Al Namrood song was nice, but everything else was either so irritating or boring that you'd never want to come back to this stuff ever again. Narcotized may have helped to give Al Namrood more notoriety in the Middle Eastern black metal world, but it did nothing for the other bands. This is a weird case where only a quarter of a split dominates the rest of it. Most of Narcotized is boring as hell. Just stay away from this one.