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To Conquer Death - 78%

HanSathanas, May 14th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Time Before Time

Opening the first half of the split is Stillborn, a legendary equation from Poland playing black / death metal who contributed three tracks. Each song features unrelenting savagery from the very first strum of the chord, building up a dark atmosphere of impending death from one track to the next. While not as fast as its counterpart on later half of the split, Stillborn delivers a gripping performance. The guitars are so detuned they sound like brutal death metal while the bass fills out what little space left in between to enrich a suffocating sensation.

Although there aren't many riffs that can be independently pointed out as awesome, the output is better enjoyed as one giant movement. From 'Thousand Faced-Bitch' to 'Wrath, Death & Destruction', blast beats are used extensively to complement the swift tempo. Nevertheless, the band doesn't shy away from taking a few breaks in each song before launching another offensive. The vocals are killer, no pun intended. The combination of Tomasz Zięba and Andrzej Tabor on this split quickly reminds me of Wör and Chris Ross a.k.a. Vermin from Axis of Advance fame.

Concluding the later half of 'Death Monsters' are four demo tracks recorded by Azarath, yet another Polish monstrosity that has gained infamy over the years as one of the most brutal black / death outfit of our time. Generally the songs are crushingly fast and heavy. A lot of wasted potentials due to the inferior production. Bruno's vocals are pushed upfront in the mix. The riffs are thin, but not as fragile as the bass which you could hardly hear except on some sections of 'Nightskies Burial Ground'.

Songs like 'Earthly Morgue' and 'Nightskies Burial Ground' hinted at the band's future direction. The songs could have been a snooze fest if not for Inferno who is known for his technical prowess and blinding speed that brought Behemoth to the spotlight. Double kick drums are extremely fast, so do the blast beats. The fills are also frantically rapid thus leaving no room to breathe in between the snare, toms and cymbals especially in 'Heavens Like Demise'.

While this split may not be the best thing that has ever happened for both bands, I still find it interesting to listen to. Generally, the songs presented by Stillborn and Azarath are not that bad. They still pack a punch, particularly if speed and brutality are what you are looking.