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Raw black metal split needs something extra - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, May 11th, 2015

Odd that so far (May 2015) the MA entries for Sarkrista and Sielunvihollinen aren't filling up with many reviews even though this split has been available either for sale or for listening on a number of websites. What more do two Jesus-bashing black metal bands have to do to get some attention around here? Do they need to be any more ferocious and aggressive than they are on this release?

Sarkrista gets full-throated raspy and raging in a tinny trebly way with three tracks, all fast and frenzied drum-bashing and scrappy tremolo guitar squiggling. The sound is never less than bleeding-raw harsh and unrelenting. The first song passes into the next (I think) with just the barest pause. Some very strong riffs hold up both songs while voices screech and tremolo guitar scrabbles away. Only "Ashen Woodland" slows down a bit with a deeper though still shouty and raspy vocal, a slightly slower pace and a definite rhythmic groove, even while the distorted guitar riffs grind away. Of the three songs the foursome has to offer, this third track is the most varied and easily the best.

At first Sielunvihollinen don't sound very different from Sarkrista's last track but repeated hearings show the band has a punkier attitude and relies a lot less on riffs to get through. The Finns' music has a slightly clearer tone, bouncier rhythms and lead guitar can occasionally be heard. There's plenty of aggression even if the music sometimes gets a bit bogged down by the vocalist having to churn through Finnish-language lyrics. Third track "Murheen laakso" sometimes is a bit more relaxed than the other two, there is more lead guitar soloing as well and at one point in the song the band creates a good wall-of-sound effect with guitar.

This split promises no great surprises - it's all straightforward, occasionally melodic, raw and savage black metal with a lot of energy. As such, it serves as a good introduction to the work of two underground bands but no more. Perhaps the two bands really do need something extra to get this split noticed above the slew of other releases.