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The only thing black metal should be is visceral. That's the ideology of Sandworm, who debut their extreme, forceful material on this split with doom purveyors the Body (whose excellent record 'I Shall Die Here' earlier this year). This split brings their two distinct sounds together like it's nothing at all. Madness.
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- Split by The Body / Sandworm
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I wanted to get Varg Vikneres to review this split between the Body and Sandworm -- two rising sludge and black metal acts -- but he was too busy being an awful human being, so here's an overview:
The Body present as a sludge metal act, but as their capes suggest, they're mainly interested in spectral manipulation and the ambiguity of fear; it doesn't matter what genre they're working in, as long as it's terrifying. That they worked with the Haxan Cloak -- whose brand of electronica is all about draining listeners of their life source, leaving behind pale imitation of their former selves -- is not a surprise. Their side of this split sounds informed by the eclectic turns they took with him on 'I Shall Die Here', beginning with the kind of furious black metal wind tunnel Wold has recently perfected, before transitioning into oscillating drones and a tortured piano motif that recalls slowcore undertakers Low. The sludge eventually comes into play, and with feeling, but it's evident that The Body have learned not to take themselves literally over the past couple of years -- between electronic glitches that could belong in a house tune, ascending vocal samples and moments of ambient bliss, they've become more than just a metal vessel. The Body are composers -- as long as they're blocking out the light, it doesn't matter how.
If the Body's side is a tour de force in elemental evil and fractured genre fusion, then Sandworm give us the more straight-and-narrow proceedings, with black metal that sounds contained to four walls, made in a basement where all reclusive genres are best off. The vocals are supremely low in the mix, but their brute force is such that they're the calling card of the band's music, growled with such persistence that their four-chord chugging goes unnoticed. At times, Soundworm sound kinda like a no frills punk band merely incorporating those see-sawing guitar riffs black metal is notorious for -- even the drums feel scaled back to something a less intensive hardcore band would be working with, and the chilling fuzz that ushers in each new song reminds me of Dropdead's lo-fi abandon. Their songs are short, compact and package their black metal influence very tight. Like the Body, they're a band that proves these gloomy genres can intersect and make new types of behemoths. And really, that's what this split is best at doing: offering new ways of freaking metalheads the fuck out.
Right, that was a good hour of black metal defiance. I'm off to write mean things on Burzum's last.fm page now.
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