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no one actually likes this - 34%

Noktorn, March 8th, 2010

Black metal and ambient music are obviously pretty close bedfellows, but frankly Miasma's music is already so ambient that I question the need for a band like Gräuen Pestanz on this split. All you're getting is an even more minimal (though this time without guitars) version of what you're getting with Miasma, so this doesn't come off so much as a split as a single band alternating between fairly boring and still pseudo-depressive, dissonant black metal and noisy Audacity ambient. There's nothing wrong with either of those things, but frankly neither are executed very well. This is not the sort of release I typically find enjoyable so perhaps someone more infatuated with the hoary realms of underground black/ambient will find more enjoyment out of it, but I'm inclined to think it's just boring in general.

Miasma's material is generally slow, droning, kind of depressive black metal with an Absonus Noctis edge of dissonance and bland, thin production. It fits the music which is similarly bland and thin; the songs are two-riff affairs and neither of the riffs are particularly good in any case. The overall delivery of this music reminds me uncomfortably of Ganzmord, the mostly incompetent bedroom black metal band that somehow got a spot on blackmetal.com's roster- it has a similarly offhand and half-assed feel, like the band couldn't be bothered to write any riffs that are interesting. A good example: 'Formless Reflection', one of the only moderately uptempo tracks on the entire CD drones through almost three minutes of the same boring goddamn riff before changing to another equally boring 'play this run then play this run with fret + 1' riff. Clearly the band is going for a sort of Black Funeral pseudo-occult atmosphere but it fails miserably because Black Funeral is a good band whereas Miasma sucks and all the croaking, distorted vocals in the world can't hide that.

Gräuen Pestanz, on the other hand, specializes in the sort of cheap basement ambient that should be released on a tape limited to 50 in Italy but instead found its way onto a pro-pressed CD. The first two tracks are incredibly boring and still ambient, with the first being more occult and the second being more martial, and both just featuring reverb-soaked sound effects with no sense of pacing or ability to grip the listener. It sounds like the sort of thing I make in Audacity when I have nothing better to do; I guess you could make the argument that it's not supposed to be 'good' but that's a terrible argument to make. The final track for some reason is a black metal song; this time a fast and wholly dissonant one that roughly complements Miasma's style in both aesthetic and quality. It's similarly droning, though somewhat less repetitive because there's some actual effort put into the drum programming, but the riffs are bland tremolo numbers with no engaging melodies and in general the track has nothing to recommend for it. What a waste.

Okay, I take it back, this is just bad regardless of your taste in black metal. Neither band is significantly better than the other since both are the epitome of lazy and generic, so I can't see how anyone could actually derive enjoyment from it. There's a million other things just like this which get less label support and are better, so go with one of those.