This is a split between two bands with common purpose, neither of whom I was familiar with beforehand. The words post and apocalyptic are bandied about in the PR along with cinematic and landscape.

First up we have LLNN and ‘The Guardian’ begins with the kind of dark ambient sounds you might get on a good Cryo Chamber release. My interest is piqued just long enough for the battering riff to descend on my head. This is then pushed towards that sludge take on the Neurosis sound; ebb and flow crushing, ponderous riffs mercilessly slamming into you. It’s bright, tight and the vocals utterly committed. The problem is that initially, though, it seems pretty two dimensional, just riff, howl, riff, repeat right up until their last ambient track, the excellent ‘Gravitational’. Repeated listens though show that LLNN do have quite a bit more going on under the hood than that; the only problem being that the rhythmic flourishes and textures are mostly smothered beneath the vocals. That is a problem due to their sheer intensity, and also because despite the raw, primal nature there is so little variation to them that it sadly becomes monotonous, particularly with them so high in the mix. LLNN clearly have a lot to them, just this doesn’t let them all shine equally.

Wovoka offer one seventeen minute song, ‘Traces’, and whilst they are a perfect musical match fit with LLNN even to the intro ambience, they take a more progressive approach to their sludge. The vocals are lower in the mix but still strong, and even have moments of clean singing and a little variation to the howl. There are moments when I am vaguely reminded of Of Spire & Throne, but without their delicacy of touch and feel for the quiet. It’s not bad though, it has flow and interest and real shape to it.

All in all this split is a good if a little standard take on the apocalyptic sludge sound. Both bands show a lot of promise that there is more to come. Worth a look.

(6/10 Gizmo)