Another throwback of eight years to complete a review of a record that was released thirteen years ago, how’s that for dedication? And to make things even more old school, the Shub-Niggurath tracks are taken from a rehearsal from 1990! I didn’t really write much at the time, but as I picked up the CD from the shelf and started to listen to it I found myself why I was actually losing any time on this recording.
To be honest, let’s say it straight away, this split is fucking useless. It’s just crap made up to use the logos of two great bands. Let’s be clear, I’ve loved Shub-Niggurath since the demo tape, and I think Necroccultus is an excellent band as well despite their relatively young age (sigh, I just realized they formed 19 years ago), but I can’t stand live and rehearsals unless they’re included in a full discography or as bonus tracks, let alone in a split. To make matters worse, three different labels for three different formats, including a vinyl whose significance I don’t really understand. And even the audio is too poor to justify such a pressing, these are things that you can accept for a band that has played very little for which every live show is a jewel to be recovered, but this is not the case, or possibly for a big band, like Slayer, of which you want to collect every single release. But not here, I don’t think we’re there at all. Even the cover was one of the artist’s early works and on tape/CD it is what it is. Leave this release alone.
They handed me this tape promoting it as “death/black” and while I ever married any genre Death/Black Metal generally speaking works for me. Not this time tough. I like raw and primitive, but what I mean when I say that is generally raw and primitive as in Von, not as in “college rehearsal”, eh.
The be completely honest there is nothing entirely out of place here, barring, ahem, the riffs. These songs (I am not sure if this is a promo tape or a tape album) could be summarized as Hellhammer playing Death Metal in a rehearsal room with session member from the local garage punk band. While primitive and graced with really good death vocals (hell yes, good mix of raspy and deep), the Motorhead-like pull isn’t really working out well here, it just doesn’t click. This, coupled with the kind of rehearsal sound that spoils the thickness of the sound instead of giving it an edge of rawness, summarize a scarce 5 points in my book. The concept is good, and the idea of bringing early Hellhammer-like metal into Death Metal ground is cool, but I would rather start chopping off the sloppier riffs and keep just the better ones.
EDIT: I got confirmation that this is actually a “demo” tape.
I was not hugely impressed by Hellgoat and by jove, I am underwhelmed by Legions of Astaroth as well. Like I said before fuzzy sound is by no means a turn down for me, but the kind of music this band is playing definitely could gain some points with something better than a bedroom rehearsal sound. We have some sloppy galloping here too, but as with Hellgoat they’re kept to a minimum and maybe, if we could hear the guitars, they could be not terribly bothering. Like with the other band in the split, I find the vocals the best element in the mix, as the drums do what they’re supposed to do in a good black metal band, that is blasting. Can’t say much more as it’s quite difficult to hear what they are pretending to be playing here.
And that’s it, I don’t have much more to add, as it is it sounds like some ordinary bestial death/black metal band. I guess Astaroth didn’t inspire very much the band.
If I was a stalwart defender of high-fidelity sound I could have never enjoyed bands like Apator or Black Mass Of Absu, yet we’re at a severely dangerous level here in terms of shitty sound. Luckily enough Hellgoat does not use the oxidized camera mic as a trick to recreate dismal landscape of shit like early Burzum. I will proceed in reviewing this split demo with a good share of my cognitive capacity focused on the health of my speakers, though, as they have been crackling and popping dangerously since the very first second. Whet we have is is rather plain, almost indistinguishable Black Metal with decent vocals. The cover of this slimcase is just a color-xeroxed piece of paper with song titles written by hand, but you know, I generally like disadvantaged people. The music is as repetitive and uninspiring as you can imagine, but I find some interesting ideas, if only I could discern a little bit more on what’s going on. Might be a good stuff for lovers of the aforementioned bands, or Gonkulator, as it’s not funeral shit Black Metal but something closer to Death/Black is labels still do matter something today. What I mean is there is some structure here, some fairly evocative riffing, flesh ripping vocals and so on. They sometime fall into the mid-tempo danger zone (and I HATE the mid tempo gallop) but it’s not something hugely intrusive. I guess it’s one of those cases a little fuller production could have mattered (or a slightly more basic songwriting if we want to keep it minimalist and indulge on the cave sound).