Album Title: Split
Label: Desolate Landscapes
This is a split CD between Orodruin, a black metal side project of Holland's Haat, and Vinterriket, a dark ambient band from Germany.
Orodruin plays repetitive, ritualistic black metal with a Tolkien theme. The guitar production is quite thick, and the simple, primitive riffs evoke both sadness and violence. The drums are obviously programmed, but the eerie symmetry of the computerized beats really compliments the overall sound. The vocals are deep, rough snarls, perfectly understandable and well-suited to the music. There are also a few ambient synth sections - all I can or should say about these is that they aquit themselves well against the Vinterriket side of the split.
That's no small compliment, since the Vinterriket does more with the space between the individual sounds than most bands do with their instruments. Here, the usual Vinterriket blend of eerie synth and distant guitar is taken to a new level. The production on these two songs is very low-key - the vocals are mixed so low as to be almost inaudible, as is the guitar. This leaves the synth to take center stage, as is fitting for an ambient band. It also lends a deep, cold atmosphere to the recording, one that becomes even more obvious in its absence, during occasional moments of lone synth.
This is the first I've heard from Orodruin, and I'm extremely impressed. The writing on these songs is very good - they're highly repetitive, but the final product is hypnotic rather than boring. The lyrics deserve special mention, especially those from "Uruk-Hai Command", which sum up the essence of Orc. This is a band to watch in the future - I'd be especially eager to see what Orodruin could make of a full-length CD.
The Vinterriket half of the split is equally good. These are two of the best songs this band has ever composed, and together they're more than worth the price of the disc.
This is one of a very few truly great split CDs. Both sides of the split are worthy of attention, individually and together, and the split provides 40 minutes of quality ambient metal. Those who enjoy ritualistic black metal, Tolkien's works, or dark ambient should seek out this release.
Standout Tracks: "Visions of the Palantiri", "Uruk-Hai Command", "Das Winterreich"