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Highly intense, moody noisy winter ambient / raw atmospheric BM split - 80%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, February 14th, 2020

Released on the last day of 2019, this split release by two obscure occult pagan UKBM acts based in Cornwall associated with the Inverse Solar Reqvriem label looks backwards and forwards, Janus-style. One OLQ track is an unreleased song written and recorded in 2012 and a track by Ynkleudherhenavogyon on the split will appear on an EP to be released some time in 2020. Among other things, these acts seem keen on resurrecting at least parts of the old Celtic Cornish culture and the associated language in their work. Apart from occult, pre-Christian and Celtic themes in common, these two bands have very different musical approaches: OLQ is a more noisy and experimental-sounding winter ambient project while its Cornish compatriot has a more conventional melodic raw atmospheric BM style.

OLQ's two tracks are frizzly deep-frying guitar affairs with clashing, bashing percussion, topped off by a phantom demon's hoarse screeching cries and some seriously dark-deranged guitar chord passages in a minor key. The first track "Possessed as the Fires Burn" takes some getting used to as the entire track sets the space between your ears afire with paint-stripping screams and throbbing searing noise guitar in an unholy fire-baptism ritual. "The Tides of Awakening" by contrast is deathly quiet in a new ritual marked by unearthly droning throat-singing groan assisted by echo over a sinister keyboard melody.

Ynkleudherhenavogyon's contributions are much more straightforward and structured songs with power and drive, clear riffs and cold raspy singing and screaming. The first song is bleak and dark in mood and atmosphere, and most of it isn't very remarkable save for an instrumental passage in the middle that takes a malevolent detour with ominous lead guitar tremolo riffing, and a brief ambient bit where we almost get a view of the devastating hell where the singing is trapped. The lo-fi quality of production and the bristly instrumental guitar parts recall the French Black Legions at their bleakest and most experimental. The experimental bent of Ynkleudherhenavogyon's style is demonstrated in a short ambient track of melancholy rain-soaked urban blues guitar warble and jangle.

In these short, often experimental and moody songs there is intense anguish suggesting despair and hopelessness in an environment where everything we thought had been stable for years, centuries even, is crashing down around us, and chaos, violence and squalid impoverishment are coming much closer than we dare to acknowledge. In such a situation, the reaction of bands like these two Cornish projects is to find and recover lost pre-Christian Celtic Cornish culture and values, and a holistic way of viewing the world and humanity's place within, one where the spiritual and the material meet through ritual and ceremony. I only wish this split album had been twice as long as it is, with more fully developed songs and cycles of songs rather than short snapshots of what the two bands might be capable of.