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3-ways of amazing. - 95%

Metal_Finder, August 22nd, 2008

I must start by saying that the three projects on this release, probably could not be any more different from each other. But they all manage to compliment and counterpoint the others it a very unique way; thus making this release incredible in many different arenas.

First we have the depressive one-man band known as Ancestral. The two offerings this projects brings to the table are very much in the vein of typical style of depressive USBM. Super distorted guitars, hollow drum sounds, anguished/howled vocals (kind of like Nyktalgia) and super lo-fi production. While this style has been beaten to death in the US scene, Ancestral manages to bring a new sense of life to his music, differentiating it from typical USBM offerings. His use of melody is one of the things that stands out; a very keen sense of emoting despair, solitude and hatred towards mankind. He makes his point very clear in his music. My only gripe with his third of the disc is that the second song (And the Sun Scorched the Earth) could have been trimmed down by 3-4 minutes and still had the same effect. A small thing to ask, but the material is outstanding nonetheless.

Second on the disc is Merankorii. A huge departure from the depressive sounds of Ancestral. Here we have an amazing mix of haunting ambient and doom-y atmosphere. The Merankorii bulk of the disc is loaded with sparse piano melody, found sounds, samples, staccato drumming and dark emotion. Hearing this portion of the release is a welcome breather from the suffocating material of Ancestral. Merankorii breathes, wanders and emotes something truly amazing. Do not expect simple one note and one chord dark ambient, which seems to penetrate the scene as of late. Merankorii is so much more than that. A worthy addition to this split...

And last but certainly not least we have Njiqahdda. Oddly enough, their material on this album present some of their shortest songs, but also manages to span more of the disc than the other two projects. This bulk of the material also happens to be my personal favorite on the disc. The first track opens with an almost punk-ish vibe to it, complete with jangle-y guitar tone and bouncy drumming. The melodic aspect of this track is very post-rock, alternating between the almost happy sounding first riff and the depressive sounding others. A unique contrast of melody. The second track seems to take off where the first had stopped. The scream in the beginning is also pretty frightening sitting alongside the musical content. From here the song bursts into what sounds like a blast beat?!?!! This would have to be the first time i have heard this project utilize this in one of their songs. From the blast, back to the jangle and to the blast again, this track is a certain success of tension and release. The third track is much more doom-laden than the others, even from the opening guitar riff. A plodding drum beat and anguished growl surface propelling the track into quite a dirge of funeral proportions. Not super slow like a lot of funeral doom bands, but somewhat reminiscent of earlier Katatonia. An amazing track with outstanding melodies and vocal lines. The last track is a super blown out wash of guitar strum. Loaded with effects and delay, this track really reaches the stratosphere. Almost like an acoustic folk song played through a highly overdriven amp with about fifty reverb and delay pedals thrown on. Loads of jangle-y guitar tone mixed with beautiful melodies that shift from joy to melancholy over and over. A great end to one spectacular disc.

This album is truly amazing. Most times split albums show one band toppling the other, but this one is quite balanced and each project perfectly compliment each other. Highly recommended for fans of black metal, ambient, shoegaze, experimental and post-rock music. Simply outstanding in all aspects.