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Krieg Vs. Someone Who Used to Be in Krieg - 73%

TheStormIRide, June 30th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, 7" vinyl, Broken Limbs Recordings (Limited edition)

New Jersey based black metal institution Krieg have teamed up with the Minnesota based blackened sludge stalwarts Wolvhammer to release a limited split 7” vinyl through Broken Limbs Recordings, with 300 copies on black and 200 copies on black with green and yellow splatter. Love him or hate him, N. Imperial has fashioned Krieg into one of the most prominent USBM acts in history, churning out a steady flow of releases since the band's 1995 formation. Formed in 2008, Wolvhammer, to date, has released two full lengths alongside a few miscellaneous releases.

In press releases, N. Imperial has stated: “Seeing that both bands have shared members and toured together in the past it seemed only natural that through this camaraderie we would eventually spawn a split release between us. Both bands have provided sonic statements of intent for where we are at this fine year of our lord 2014 and where we plan on traveling in the future.” Makes sense, I guess. Even more so when you realize that both Krieg and Wolvhammer are due to release new full length albums in 2014: so, consider this a short teaser, if you will. Krieg's seventh full length album, Transient, is due out in September of 2014 while Wolvhammer's Crawling Into Black Sun is slated for a July 2014 release.

This split lends one side and one track to each band and has a grand running time of just under ten minutes. Wolvhammer starts the show with their so-called blackened sludge in the form of “Slaves to the Grime”. While I detect hints of sludgy dank and blackened tendencies, this track has ostensible punk and hardcore leanings, which is not a bad thing of course, just unexpected. The band switches gears several times throughout the track, going from the punkish swagger to a faster blackened attack with rollicking drums and speedy, dissonant power chords and then back again. Despite the varying approaches to the same formula, the entire opus stays firmly rooted in mid-tempo pacing. The harsh, growling vocals are a hefty mix of hardcore shouts and black metal snarls, which keeps the band firmly blackened. I applaud the band's attempt to bring something different to the table, but the song isn't overly memorable on its own.

Krieg's portion of the split, “Eternal Victim”, is, well, Krieg. If you've listened to anything N. Imperial and his ever-changing band of misfits and outcasts has recorded in the past decade, then you have a solid starting point. The track starts off with a noisy, post-rock infused riff and Imperial's trademark screams, as the undertone gradually swells and the drummer goes off with spastic fills and rolls. This noisy riff continues to surge forward until the band unleashes a monster of a crushingly grooving riff which repeats for a few bars before delving into prime USBM trem picking and blasting drums, which carries us to the end of the track. If this is a preview for the upcoming full length, then consider me interested, as this sounds heads about what was on The Isolationist.

While neither band's track is a dud, Krieg certainly steals the show on this split. Despite the strength of this split, this will really only serve as a collector's item, as it's limited to 500 copies. If you're a diehard Krieg or Wolvhammer fan, then scoop this up quick, otherwise just hang tight for the upcoming full length albums.

Written for The Metal Observer.