A new UK black metal label here, always nice to see, and their first release is this split between two Russian depressive black metal bands. It’s a neatly turned out disc with two tracks each from the bands. There also appears to be a modernist approach to the music though not in any post rock way.

Up first, People Are Mechanisms give us ‘Unfamiliar Trails’ and ‘Empty Midnight Streets’. The former begins in the dismal rain, keyboards slowly building in the mix, a grey soundscape slowly spreading out damp, cold and dismal. The production is very treble heavy so the sparse drumming comes through a little thin but it is still an atmospheric track where the repetition works well for it. A little Silent Hill 2 maybe, but still good. ‘Empty Midnight Streets’ is more full on as a song, with vocals lost in the depths off the ponderous, bleak music. Take a bit of Burzum and Abhor into urban streets, hand held by the echoes of Ulver and despite the slightly intrusive cymbal sound it’s more than enough to make me want to hear more if People Are Mechanisms.

Morodh next, with a noticeably more rounded production and a less ambient take on the genre. ‘Desperation’ has that Katatonia guitar sound when they still had a soul, but with snarled and grim vocals dragging it into a more black metal space particularly when the drums and screams kick in together. Not bad, but maybe just needing a little further push in one direction or the other. ‘Hopelessness’ beings the low strings and the semi-acoustic guitar strumming in a sombre room before a fine, haunting riff wall rises up. Much better than the first song it goes for the atmosphere and emotion before falling into the quiet once more. Very nicely arranged I have to say.

It’s a good showcase for both bands; similar enough in intent to appeal to similar fans but hugely different in approach to mark out their own territory. For me People Are Mechanisms do it by a short head but only because their style speaks more to my taste than any objective reason. Morodh really deserve listening to as well.

Nice first release. Pick it up, support the scene and hear two very promising new bands at the same time What is not good about that? Check out the label too: They are looking for new bands.

(7.5/10 Gizmo)