What we have here is the meeting of two old friends with their respective projects: Sun Of The Sleepless (Schwadorf of Empyrium, The Vision Bleak and Noek) and Cavernous Gate (S.K. Of Helrunar). Does it fit together? Are they worthy of attention as the Western world plunges into a month of even more lunatic behaviour than usual?

First to whisper in our ear are Sun Of The Sleepless. Five tracks here. ‘Wovon Wolf Traumen’ is a haunting, misty number, acoustic mostly and the kind of delicate, sombre number that Winterfylleth are such masters of. It’s quite beautiful, introspective music that moves seamlessly into ‘The Lure Of The Night’ which is a bursts from its picked notes into a urgent swirl of black metal riffing with lots of clean vocals around the snarls. It has a rising urgency at first before falling back into delicate reflective times. Again Winterfylleth are an obvious reference point, early Opeth too in the thoughtful, beautifully picked acoustic guitars. The pattern repeats over ‘Fall Of The Lonesome’/’The Moon On Summer Eves’ couplet with the latter a little harder perhaps, bringing to mind maybe a little Diabolical Masquerade and a little very early Katatonia. ‘Kristall’ closes in a sift almost medieval sound which recalls some mid nineties Cold Meat Industry bands. A thoughtful end to an atmospheric and enthralling contribution 8/10.

Cavernous Gate on the other hand bring the dirge. Ponderous, dark organ sounds are ‘Seclusion’, before ‘Those Who Walk With The Fog’ rolls in. Heavy but like a rolling wave it envelopes me. A wave of nostalgia hits me initially, Mythological Cold Towers like, before the riff turns hard and the edged, growling vocals wrest it into a little more funeral doom territory. It twists again, tempo rising into more blackened death metal territory, almost a separate song before plunging back into a rumbling sound. Hmm. ‘Amongst Decayed Grass’ is an epic nine minutes. Funeral doom crawls across the ground with unsettling keyboards, a slow cavernous riff beautifully executed. The vocals when they come are pure, clean doom. Haunted. Judged perfectly. I can’t shake the MCT feel but that is no bad thing. It finds speed then, lurching downhill but for me losing a little shape as its feel blackens. ‘A Pale Shimmer In The Dark’ chugs into life for the end; blackened death with the funereal guitar melody twisting it out of shape and into unnerving territory. Something here feels a little ‘first outing’, influences and quality musicality coming through strongly with individual identity forming almost before your eyes but, maybe, not quite there yet. Still very impressive though; arrangement, feel, atmosphere all fine quality 7/10.

Although musically a fair bit apart, you can see the shared roots here. It’s a quality release, performed by accomplished musicians. Intriguing rather than essential. Have a listen.

(7.5/10 Gizmo)