Artist: Devastator / Blasphemer
Album Title: Nuclear War / Race of the Cursed Seeds
This is a split CD from Devastator (black/thrash) and Blasphemer (black metal), two American bands. I'll review each side of the split in order of appearance.
The sound on Devastator's side of the split is based around the guitar and vocals, with drums and bass further in the background. The guitar tone is ripping and vicious, very fitting for thrash metal. Likewise, the vocals have a rough tone to them that works well for this sort of music.
Devastator's side of the split is packed with good riffs. The ending of "Nuclear Proliferation" is especially great, with a punishing slower section that leads into a reprise of the main theme. Given the length of the first two songs (12 and 9 minutes), though, there's a bit too much repetition. Both these songs sound OK, but they could have used more changes and riff variation. The third song, Alcoholocaust, starts off with a purely black metal section before starting in on the thrash. This song is a lot easier to enjoy than the other two -- the dirty production gives it a bit more depth, and at less than five minutes, there's no need to worry about an excess of repetition.
Blasphemer is blasting, atmospheric black metal, somewhat reminiscent of Graveland's early work. The guitars fade into a wall of repetitive riffs, with relentless drumming behind them. The vocals are screamed, in classic black metal style. They're right up front in the mix, and are easily the best thing about this band.
This sort of black metal lends itself much more to repetition, which is a good thing, as you'll find plenty of it here. That said, there's still a little too much of it. If you're really into this sort of droning black metal, you might find something of value here, but I was somewhat put to sleep by it. The exception is the closing instrumental track, "Race of the Cursed Seeds". It has some very cool soaring, layered guitar work, making it the best track on the split.
On this split CD, Devastator display major improvement over their previous release, "The End". Their songwriting on this split has become far more unified and interesting, so if they can cut the songs shorter on the next one, it should be a fine addition to anyone's black/thrash collection. Blasphemer's side of the split isn't my cup of tea, but their instrumentation is solid, and their final track excels. If you're in the market for a bit of thrash and a bit of black, you might check this one out, but listen before you buy. Not recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Nuclear Proliferation", "Race of the Cursed Seeds"