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I have been waiting for this for a long time - 80%

TikrasTamsusNaktis, April 26th, 2012

I finally had received this split in the mail and listened to it right away. First off, it has very simple packaging. The very nice album cover that was some sort of paper, possibly thin cardboard, was wrapped in plastic, and then inside that is just a simple black sleeve with the actual cd, which is a dark brown colour (yes, I am Canadian).

Anyway, continuing on to the music, the first half is a song called "Here I Stand" by At the Head of the Woods. This song sounds very similar to any Blood of the Black Owl song for about the first half; typical slow drumming and guitars moving at a cathartic crawling pace. Then the song breaks into this Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin-esque, spacey "let’s do some acid man"-sounding part. It is very nice and relaxing. It actually feels like the song is from the '70s. This was my first exposure to At the Head of the Woods and it was a decent one at that, so I am happy with the first part of the album, though the fact that this song is 25 minutes long can be difficult to digest all at once for some people.

The second part of the album was the part that I have been looking forward to for over a year. This is essentially a composition of two Blood of the Black Owl songs that were released on MySpace awhile ago. Chet Scott decided to disable his account and so the songs disappeared. Then he announced that they would be included on this split. The two songs, "Hibernation" and "Minutiae", have been combined into one song called "Visions of Strix Nebulosa."

The first part of the track is "Hibernation". This song sounds like the forgotten or missing song from "A Banishing Ritual". This makes perfect sense because these two songs were recorded during that time. This song also reminds me of the first song off of "A Feral Spirit - Spell of the Elk" with the way the drumming and chanting moves throughout the song at a very contemplative, slow speed. In between the two tracks is a transition track which really just sounds like "Hibernation". Chet Scott chants 'awaken' a few times and the track leads into the main reason why I purchased this cd, the track "Minutiae." I had first heard this on the MySpace and I instantly loved it. I would listen to it on MySpace often and then when it was taken down I was very disappointed, so finally I got to listen to this song again which might be my favourite Blood of the Black Owl song. The song consists of a very relaxing and soothing, yet creepily clean guitar notes repeated many times throughout the song. Also there is a very alien-like sounding keyboard usage, which is fantastic. The lyrics are very interesting as well, things such as "So I eat the moon, in an effort to digest sleep....I invite it!" This part of the song lasts about 13 minutes and it is easily the best part of the whole album. "Minutiae" is very calming and trance-inducing and is perfect for falling asleep to and reflecting about whatever it is you want to.

I had waited for a long time for this release and now that I got it I am very happy. The only complaints I have are that I really did prefer the two Blood of the Black Owl songs more when they were split up. The 25 minutes of music can be difficult at times and might be even more so for other listeners. Overall, this is not something that takes away from the music, it just makes it more time consuming, but in a way that allows one to escape into this world.