Artist: Gyibaaw / Mitochondrion
Album Title: Rituals of Transcendence / Liimk Halaayt
Label: Siege Engine
This is a split CD from Gyibaaw and Mitochondrion, two Canadian bands playing chaotic blackened death metal. This review refers to the tour edition of this split.
The production on this split is excellent. The Mitochondrion side is a little more bass-heavy, which fits with their style, but both bands achieve a near-perfect balance between drums, guitar, and vocals. The audible bass on both sides of the split is quite welcome, also. My sole complaint is that the Gyibaaw side sounds a little quieter than the Mitochondrion side; given the alternating-tracks format, this leads to a lot of volume-adjusting.
This is one of the most unified splits I've heard in a long time. These two bands go together perfectly, yet both are more than different enough to give their contributions a distinctive sound. The first track is a short instrumental collaboration between both bands. It's a distinctive combination of eerie acoustic guitar and native flute & drum -- I'd be interested to hear more along these lines. The rest of the album alternates from there.
The Mitochondrion side of the split is overwhelming as usual; their bizarre, churning brand of death metal is in fine form here. As on their album, these songs are packed with evil Morbid Angel style riffs, and their dual-vocal approach adds a ton of variety. Their side starts off with a re-recorded demo song, Through Cosmic Gaze. This was always one of their better tracks, and the new version here really benefits from the crisp-yet-heavy production. It pales in comparison to the new track, though -- "Trials" is killer, with a stomping main riff and stunningly intricate drumming. The chaotic part toward the middle is exceptional!
Gyibaaw's side is more atmospheric and ritualistic, but just as rich in quality riffing and great drum fills. The shifting, mesmerizing guitar patterns here are excellent, as is the occasional use of the flute. The haunting, echoing vocals are top-notch as well. The production on Gyibaaw's side of this split is much, much more powerful than on their full-length, and these tracks also seem more tightly-focused than on Ancestral War Hymns. These songs are as chaotic as ever, but the transitions between the individual sections seem smoother and more natural. "Itlee Tsimshian" is a great example; this song's main guitar line brings Inquisition's best to mind, and goes through nine or ten different transformations without ever once losing steam. The time changes on this track are equally powerful -- the drum-and-acoustic section is one of the best moments on the split.
In addition to these tracks, the second edition of this split will include three cover songs (Mitochondrion will cover Inquisition and Rites of Thy Degringolade, and Gyibaaw will cover Drudkh).
This is one of the best splits I've heard in the last few years. Both bands are excellent, and the alternating format fits them perfectly -- I can listen to this on repeat all day. Any fan of chaotic Canadian bands like Rites of Thy Degringolade, Axis of Advance, Begrime Exemious, and Adversarial should enjoy this. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Rituals of Transcendence", "Trials", "Itlee Tsimshian"