Technology is a wonderful thing.  Connecting people around the globe in moments. Gone are the days of “Penbangers” in Metal Forces – waiting for those C90 tapes to arrive from the other side of the world – or up the road. A golden time then but thank Beelzebub that wifi and cloud storage means we can now share our passion for Metal in moments rather than months.

This means that Neill Jameson – AKA N from Krieg has managed to join forces with Jenks Miller from Horseback to record this E.P of Black and Occult metal without ever meeting. Miller is in charge of all instruments whilst Jameson is the voice.

Across the 8 tracks the influence of Beherit and early Bathory are writ in big drippy letters but so is the experiments of Rudimentary Peni and the groovy acid trips of Miller’s own Horseback. There is a lot to pack in during the sub twenty minute journey so strap in!

“The Scourge and the Gestalt” starts with a huge Celtic Frost riff and a grunt worthy of Tom himself. Jameson’s vocal fits perfectly. Part throaty rasp, part strangled growl it compliments the dread inducing cacophony . This builds and builds into a maelstrom of spiralling guitar lines and crashing cymbals. No blast beats to signal urgency this is all on the breakables.

“Deformed Lights” is claw in the air primal black metal backed with a Hammond to add a touch of atmos to the bleakness. The guitar refrain towards the tail of this beast is straight out of the goth/post punk school and it lifts the track from the depths to a place where snakebite and black meets pernod. “Myths From the Dessert” kicks straight in like a mutated growth from the previous track. A punk drum beat and a Nephilim guitar jangle keeps my feet tapping and my urge to lift my hands from this keyboard and twirl them is hard to resist.

“A Cracked and Desolate Sky” is Under the Sign of the Black Mark with a doomy riff. Fucking awesome!  “The Flower of Serpents” gives an interval. Time to grab a tub of ice cream from the woman in the corner of the cave. 48 seconds of Carpenter synth with an 80’s vibe  – think S U R V I V E then 51 seconds of BM brutality with “Shelter Beneath the Sea” . Bruised and battered next up is “From the Lash” – Miller takes his foot off the gas slightly – this is 90 miles an hour rather than 100. The twist here is a funky bass solo to round it off.

“Circles of Salt” concludes this E.P and is the featured track that many will have heard. It is very different from its predecessors. Synth heavy with a very kitsch Middle Eastern feel the Horseback influence is very strong here as is Rudimentary Peni. Almost tribal drums and a shoegaze build add to the gothic ambience – I can also hear The Cure’s “The Kiss” in its swirls and repetition. Jameson’s voice is a ghost on the wind here, blowing in and out like a Djinn circling a Bedouin camp.  So different to the rage that precedes it but an absolute delight.

This E.P. is a breath of fetid but refreshing air in a BM world that can sometimes rest on its laurels.

Can’t wait for a full length. Maybe get some cash together for a flight guys? Meetup in person?

(8.5/10 Matt Mason)