A relatively short release, this, being as it is a four track EP coming from those lovers of all things eclectic, I, Voidhanger records. In fairness, both acts are one-man outfits. Featured here is the dark and wilfully obscure death metal of Ohio’s Wakedead Gathering, and the angular black metal of Indiana’s Ecferus.
With an eleven minute opening track, “The Blind Abyss”, we get some vintage Wakedead Gathering, with a thundering and sprawling crawl through the bleaker frontiers of the genre. As with their stunning recent album Fuscus, this is really interesting stuff, and the eleven minutes both seems to rattle by much quicker than the time on the counter suggests. It’s an impressive track that could quite easily have sat on the last album, with the dark atmosphere, the cavernous vocals and a sick bass sound that is equal parts classic Celtic Frost and Autopsy. As inventive as ever, it’s further evidence that The Wakedead Gathering are one of, if not the most interesting American death metal band of the last few years.
On then to the remaining three tracks, which all come courtesy of Ecferus. I’m not actually au fait with their work, though a quick canter over to the ever reliable Metal Archives shows that they (he?) have been very much active since being created in 2015, with a full length in 2015 and 2016, and a host of split releases since that time. “Unto Chaos Unravelling” comes up first, with a suitably traditional mid-tempo black metal attack, which manages to keep a neat balance of melody with the aggression. “Author of destruction” channels classic Satyricon, and while not being exactly cutting edge, does the trick, again the real star being the icy guitar melodies. Luckily, “Cerebral Inferno” is a slightly more exciting way to round off the EP, with more tempo and a deeply satisfying lurching rhythm that again brings to mind the better parts of latter day Celtic Frost with some atmospheric chanting backing up the throat-shredded screams.
I, Voidhanger have continued therefore with their proud tradition of producing interesting, off-kilter musical offerings. Is it the most cohesive split EP I’ve ever heard? Well, probably not, being definitely a release of two halves, but even as a chap who is mostly indifferent to black metal, I really enjoyed Ecferus’ tracks here. The star of the show though, for me, is The Wakedead Gathering. Good stuff.
(7/10 Chris Davison)