As the title might suggest, this four-way split from Plastik Musik, a recording studio/record label based in South Jersey run by Nathan Kite of The Many, is a collection of one track each from four US Black Metal bands. I have to admit up front that going into this the only one of the four bands I was familiar with was Krieg, but I’m actually a pretty big Krieg fan so I figure if they’re involved then it must be worth a listen. In fact, it’s more than worth a listen; it’s a solid, if perhaps a bit too brief, slab of mostly newer—Krieg is the only band on the split who appears to have more than one full-length or a couple of EPs to their name—black metal that doesn’t cascade, doesn’t meander into post- territory, and doesn’t seem to be ashamed to call itself black fucking metal.
A quick note: I’ve stated my distaste for track-by-track reviews before, but since this is a four-way split with only one song from each band, I don’t really see any other way to do it and do all four bands justice. So here we go…
The split opens with “Ageless Conquering Wolves” from Connecticut’s Bitter Peace. The track begins with the familiar sample of George H.W. Bush discussing the New World Order that Ministry used pieces of on their song “N.W.O.” Fortunately, that’s about the only thing about the track that reminds me of Ministry. Instead, they remind me of a more blackened version of Yakuza; the band’s vocalist sounds uncannily like Bruce Lamont. It’s a moody track that combines the classic Norwegian black metal guitar sound with some interesting layering of the vocals gives the track an unsettling feel that makes me want to seek out their 2011 full-length Glorificus Vis.
Track two is “O’ For A Thousand Tongues To Sing” by Philadelphia’s Esoterica. This is black metal in the Portal/Impetuous Ritual vein—dark, crusty, ugly, and evil as fuck, which, if you’re a fan of black metal, is really all you should need to hear. Esoterica is really fucking good, and this song may be the highlight of this split. Unfortunately, it clocks in at less than three minutes, so it’s way too short. Fortunately, they have a pair of EPs—Idololatraie and Knell—available for only $1 each on their Bandcamp page. After hearing this track, you’ll want to pick them both up, and they’re well worth it.
Krieg’s contribution is called “This Time I’ll Leave You To Drown,” and is a slightly moodier, mellower affair more along the lines of “And the Stars Fell On” from their last full-length The Isolationist instead of the blast beat driven fury of some of their earlier material. This may sound odd, but I almost wonder if Imperial had been listening to a lot of old Cure records during the period when this track was written, because that’s the sort of feel this track has, at least musically; vocally it still sounds like Krieg (no one would ever mistake this for a Katatonia song). Regardless, I like the track a lot and can’t wait to hear what else the band puts out this year (which, if everything I’ve heard is accurate, could end up being quite a bit).
Finally, there’s “Infinite Wisdom” from The Many, which starts off slow and eerie, working around a sample of a young(ish) woman talking about Satan that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult’s Confessions of a Knife. For the first 1:45 or so, this track is stellar, but then the track takes a strange turn and NK starts singing ‘son of a bitch/son of a bitch, yeah’ in a clean, slightly whiny vocal for a good portion of the last minute of the track, until the growls come back in near the very end and then the sample comes back to close out the track. It’s an odd 40 seconds or so in a track that’s only 2:40, and the only misstep on an otherwise really enjoyable EP.
You can order New World Black Metal on 7” vinyl from Plastik Musik here. If you like your black metal a bit on the darker side, it’s well worth adding to your collection.
Final Grade: B+