Serpents, wolves, tanks, let’s throw them all together and hope things stick… Here we have a split EP featuring two uncompromising, underground acts, one from New Zealand and the other Canada. We get a track or 2 from each and then an ambient work, which I guess with lockdown around the world makes things slightly easier to flesh things out and a method that we may well be seeing a lot more of in the future.

First it is Heresiarch from Wellington NZ who we found bombarding us with their Death Ordinance back in 2017 on an album that was described in its review as an “unmitigated fucking racket.” Well it has to be said not a huge amount has changed as far as that is concerned. The black / death / war metal act bomb and thud into things with the 2-minute Lupine Epoch and it has to be said it sounds a foul mess. The production is grimy as hell and it sounds like this tank has come off the tracks and got stuck in the mud. Honestly this sounds rough and not in a good way. Some sharp squealing guitar riffs make it out the melee but the gruff vocals and pounding drums lack any semblance of clarity and this just rumbles over the listener with a dull bludgeoning force that’s hard to find appealing. Flesh stripped from bones, organs thrust in the face and steaming with an offal scent we have ‘Excarnation’ to deal with next. Its another case of blunt force trauma that pounds away and growls like an anthropophagous beast tucking into a feast of entrails. Yep it strikes as a messy evisceration that’s certainly extreme but with little in the way of clarity or co-ordination. The ambient track comes as a relief. ‘No Sanctuary’ actually ironically provides some breathing space and atmosphere; it even sounds acceptable but anything would after what has come before. It’s a desolate soundscape that sums up a cold barren world left after being torn asunder by death and genocidal extermination.

Antediluvian’s guitarist and vocalist Haasiophis has played live with both Revenge and Conqueror so you can guess their effort is going to be equally nerve-shredding and embittered. We just get the one main track here from them ‘Slipstream of Leviathan’s Wake’ and it has a real cavernous and filthy sound that also does it no particular favours if you actually want to have a proper listen and actually (Satan forbid) hear what is going on. The murk buries any good intentions, there’s a predominant grinding guitar and some sort of siren sounding like it’s going off in the background (maybe a fire alarm) with everything else slithering and snaking around behind it. Vocals intone lowly and are near impossible to determine until the suddenly rear up with dramatic flair and curse us before the track peels out on a shrill note. ‘Prelude’ is left right to the end which strikes as everything here being back to front and is a sinister, backward-masked sounding work of gloomy dark ambience with disquieting piano notes occasionally left to sum up the gloom and ruination of a dying world.

Yeah, I actually liked the ambient tracks here more than the pulverising main courses and failed to get into this due to the terribly grotty sound. Shame as I’m sure both bands have something to offer if one could only hear them properly.

(5/10 Pete Woods)