Even a casual listener of Death Metal has a pretty good idea what music in Hell might sound like. The walls covered with nailed on body parts, as partially skinned bodies dance to the dastardly sounds of “Meathook Sodomy” and “Christ Denied.” Assuming the trip down may take a while, however, the recent six-song split by Doom/Death bands Atavisma (France) and Void Rot (Minneapolis, MN) give our ears a glimpse of what it might sound like along the way.
The paradox here is that there’s something beautiful about the whole experience. Two bands from opposite sides of the world share commonality as brothers in Metal, for one thing, but quite comfortably co-exist within the same thirty-minute soundscape. In other words, it sounds like two Notre Dame gargoyles holding hands in the deep winter woods of Wendigo Territory.
Atavisma’s set starts a bit jazzy, with some nice drumming and off beat chord progressions. But it doesn’t take long before the songs title, “Speared Lungs,” makes itself obvious by turning into a cacophony of sound, complete with demonized vocals courtesy of a man simply known as “L”. Right away it’s obvious the band has chops.
Track two, “Mold Upheaval”, is just a fucking monster! This is the kind of tune that’ll spin your head all the way around, with a groove so heavy it forms its own atmosphere. You could lay down in the main riff like it’s a Tempur-Pedic mattress. Another thing that becomes crystal clear on this track is that the bass player (J.B.) is a force not to be trifled with. Absolutely incredible playing all around, and that trend continues right away with “Dread”: A five-minute crash course in master level riffage.
Having never listened to Atavisma before this release, I am beyond excited to hear more from them.
Enter Void Rot: The Doom Wendigo! “Ritual Invocation” starts their three songs off with a very simple, very dark, very heavy four note riff, courtesy of Kent Sklarow and John Hancock (also on vocals). Will Bell’s drumming stands out right away as well.
I gotta be honest, the last two tracks (“Necrotic Deity” and “Accursed Earth”), sort of blend together. This is by no means a bad thing. On the contrary, with these final ten minutes of music, Void Rot sets such a rich, visual tone… it’s difficult to say one minute is more or less enjoyable than another. The guitar work is phenomenal. Its slow-groove, Doom-for-days catchiness just draws you in, grabs you by the throat and chokes you into submission.
So, what happens after spending a half hour in a place like this? Well, unless you’re a crazy person, you start the damn thing over again immediately! And after that listen to it backwards! Keep your ears open for more music from both of these killer bands. Fantastic shit, indeed!
Rating – 4/5