HorlaMy first question on discovering that both these one man black metal bands hail from Norwich was what would Alan think if he encountered them to play on the local radio show? I tried to find a suitable quote from him but failed miserably. Anyway that’s probably for the best and I am sure it’s not the first time either project, who I am sure are completely serious, have had some unnecessary ridicule thrown in their direction due to their location; after all its Norwich not Norway!

Moving swiftly onto the task at hand it’s not the easiest one to formulate an overall opinion as this is rather on the short side. The bands have just two songs each to impress and the disc runs at just 18 minutes. Horla [7] the work of O.G. (and I doubt that stands for original gangster although that was my first thought) have a few demos out already and make my task a bit harder as the first track here ‘Cutting Away What Is Old’ is a purely ambient piece. With such limited time it could be considered a bad move as the bands really want to be quick to catch the listener’s attention. Still there’s a somewhat mesmerising quality about the droning ambience here and as the Horla Facebook proclaims “if you are a listener of the “trve-kvlt-grim-frostbitten” type and you like your black metal long, boring and repetitive, this is not the music for you.” More substance is found on second track ‘Life’ which has some depressive tones making me think the subject matter must be a pretty bleak one. Throaty rasps and some lower intonations form the vocals and there is a good and grim melody about this despite the fact it is somewhat chaotically driven. Things drop out for an acoustic section and what sounds like an Irish voice starts talking about carbon monoxide and poisoning, it’s all a bit odd but works as the track gently unravels then goes into some pretty fluid soloing. It’s difficult to put a finger on, some of the guitar work reminds a bit of Xasthur but on the whole this is pretty damn unique and has me intrigued to hear more.

WytchfilthWytchfilth [7.5] and I do like that name, compared to Witchking which they were called previously, is the work of Grief and he has brought out a lot of demos since forming in 2003 and must be close to getting things together for a full length album by now. ‘Void And The Hollow’ has a strange industrial tinge to it in a Thorns vein as it comes in and the guitar work is totally thorny to match. Riffs meander and vocals are pretty damn ghastly as they wretch out from below the surface. This is pretty necrotic stuff and it’s got a feel that would not be out of place in Norway when things all went strange and bands like Ved Buens Ende and Virus started moving away from the established orthodox sound. This is far from comfortable listening and is really quite on the unhinged side so naturally once I had stopped scratching my head I found myself really liking it. More slewed riffs and maddening crazed vocals babble away in ‘Rats And Soil’ and some psychedelic effects and a bit of a technical Voivodian flurry spirals out and away adding to the insanity. Wytchfilth are very much on the experimental side of things and as warped as their side of the cover art which when I pulled this out the envelope it arrived in almost made me spin out trying to focus on it.

End result two good bands here that are well worth checking out, Partridge fans and easy listeners of Radio Norwich need not apply.

(Pete Woods)