Artist: Dead to Earth / Volkeinblucht / Idvarp
Title: Three Way Split
Label: Graveless Slumber Records
This three-way split features Dead to Earth and Volkeinblucht from America, and Idvarp from New Zealand. Dead to Earth plays depressive, atmospheric black metal. Volkeinblucht plays repetitive, aggressive black metal. Idvarp plays chaotic black metal.
Dead to Earth's rhythm guitar sound is fuzzy and indistinct. From time to time, sharp solo pieces can be heard, as well. The vocals are extremely obscure, like a whisper from another room. There's a drum machine, which is mixed low to keep it from intruding upon the other instruments. All in all, a very atmospheric sound for this band.
Dead to Earth's contribution to this split consists of two instrumental tracks and one vocal song. The first instrumental, "Descent...", lives up to its name with some slow, descending guitar lines. The middle song, "...And As They Dream...", serves up a memorable main riff, along with some haunting vocal work. "Infinite and Pollutive Dispersion" closes Dead to Earth's side of the split on a more triumphant note, with soaring guitars and effects. This part of the split is the best overall.
Volkeinblucht's sound is heavily Darkthrone-influenced, with repetitive, shifting rhythm guitar. The vocals are snarled, and sound a bit more distant and cold than they did on the band's debut album. There's also a drum machine, which comes close to overwhelming the guitar at times, but is otherwise fine.
The songwriting on Volkeinblucht's part of the split is rather varied. "Die Geschenke der Wolfe" and "Death's Siren Call" are slow, thoughtful pieces, but "...For I Cannot Enter There" is aggressive, and "Living Under the Shadow of Holiness" is hateful and direct. There's plenty of great riffs throughout, especially on "Living Under the Shadow of Holiness". That's one of the best songs on the split, and easily outshines Volkeinblucht's earlier work. Great to see such progression from this band!
Idvarp's sound is based around high, sharp riffing. The drumming is somewhat sloppy, but that suits this style just fine, so no complaints from me. The vocals are a raspy snarl, and they're mixed way in the back of the recording, furthering the unsettling feel of the music. There's a bassist on this recording, but the mix renders him more-or-less inaudible.
Idvarp's songwriting here is similar to their demo work, but these songs are a bit more coherent and interesting. This is especially true of "Emerge", which might be the best thing they've written so far. The slow parts of "Blood Death Honour Part 1 and 2" are also notable. There's plenty of atmosphere on those two tracks. A better mix would have been appreciated, but this is still a pretty good recording.
I've never liked split albums in which you can't tell that there's more than one band at work. That's not a problem here, as the three bands on this one are quite different, and each one is worth hearing. There's nothing truly groundbreaking here, but if you're interested in checking out some lesser-known black metal bands, this split is worth your time. Recommended.