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Split decision - 41%

marktheviktor, June 27th, 2009

One of this year's most under the radar splits is Engangsgrill; half of the album is Nattefrost and the other half is several cuts by the previously under wraps traditional doom project Fenriz's Red Planet. I prefer split releases to be at least somewhat "consolidated" in the pairing of bands. Two very different sounding bands here and it makes for an awkward play through.

I bought this split mostly to check out what Red Planet sounds like. This personal side project by Fenriz has just come to light only recently. It's very much a fun pet project by Darkthrone's drummer so don't expect anything resembling that band but there are some bits that remind of early Isengard ramblings. These three doom tracks are quite enjoyable just as long as your expectations for such aren't held too high. You can tell Fenriz recorded these tracks on a stoner whimsy to take a break from just writing black metal which of course he is much more known for. And as I said, they are of the traditional doom variety in the vein of Pentagram and Witchfinder General.

My Ship Sailed Without Me is the first and best song on the whole split. Warning: you will probably cringe at first once you hear Fenriz's clean singing. I wouldn't be too far off in describing his vocals here in sounding like a drunken lounge singer. The more I listen to this, the more fun it becomes though. There's a long clangy drum roll at the start of the song and then he stamps it with a Tom G.Warrior 'oomph'. Fenriz really knows his doom because the main riff is sludgy and fuzzy plus he gets that lyrical wail down nicely; 'why was I booooorn?' Fucking awesome. There’s a cool melodic breakdown that rocks too. Jon Carter, Man on Mars is obviously a doomish song about the title character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. Fenriz really brought that shabby Gibson SG sound on the riffs because they sound quite classic with all that heaviness going on. He also does funny Prince-like “yow” on it. Temple of the Red Dawn Rising begins with a Celtic Frost like riff. This song is alright but not as good as the first two. The vocals are sung quite out of tune and it picks goes on to sound like more of the old doom tunes. So, Red Planet as heard on here is a nice touch. Most of it sounds pretty improvisational which is interesting.

And then the rest of the songs on Engangsgrill are by Nattefrost. I’ve always thought Carpathian Forest was a rather take it or leave it band. But solo Nattefrost stuff as sounds here and in much of his other solo albums always sounded expendable. Nekronaut does sound more like Carpathian Forest at first with it’s Hellhammer type raw energy but withers away with mostly blathering of power chords. Most of the other songs to follow have a similar structure. Sin Goddamit begins with a jokey Tiny Tim like falsetto over an acoustic guitar chord and then just shoots aimlessly with fast paced blasting metal. Pretty forgettable. The biggest waste of time is the song Lustmord. Most of it is just a sound byte of some FBI profiler espousing about the mind of a serial killer with some random loops of instruments and some ominous choruses playing in the background. I hate songs like this. This is just pure filler. The only Nattefrost track on this split that is somewhat worthwhile is Humiliated and Pissed Upon. It’s slower and does sound like another Carpathian Forest outtake. Roger does a pretty interesting job with the vocals as they are semi-clean. This track alone is not enough to redeem the Nattefrost side of the split however.

I would have liked to hear more of Red Planet on here but unfortunately the Nattefrost songs round out most of it as there are four of the latter’s songs and only three of the former. This not a very good split of Norwegian metal altogether but if you can find it cheap then give it a listen if only for Fenriz’s doom tribute and if you liked any of Nattefrost’s solo records you might check this out too but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.