Monday, 17 August 2015

Age of Lust / Oppression / Verglas Split (2015) / 86%

Punky black metal North American triptych 

This three way split is showcasing three different sides of black metal but still in possession of a similar identity feature in a compact nineteen minutes tape and it's quite lovely. I'm starting to like the split format way more than before, I think it's a fun way to mix the different approaches of like-minded bands together.

Age of Lust is the new project of Sam Morgan who's a profilic Floridian musician known for Floridian Winter (haha? As a Quebecois, this is like saying “hot ice”) among other thing. I'm only familiar with Floridian Winter's full length as far as this is concerned (that I checked because of this split, really) but it was quite good. It's a bit hard to judge this side of the split since it's like three minutes long and this include a ninety seconds introduction but eh, I'll do my best. The intro is some melodic clean guitars and the other track is raw but pretty damn fast black, the punk element isn't as present as in the other project I mentioned. “A Breath of Lunacy” features some great lead guitar work underneath the gloomy and totally adequate screams and I wish it was longer, it's a strong song. This falls in the raw but melodic territory of black metal, a genre I always dig and crave.

These two songs served as a sort of introduction to two Quebecois bands who are feeding us three new tracks each, I thought it was odd at first to see a Floridian band alongside them but with today's means of communication and with the help of the internet, everything is possible.

Oppression, formed by members of Putamen Insula (sadly, they recently broke up) and Blackscorn is a Montréal band that I've been following since their inception. I reviewed their first demo and enjoyed their first full length released last year so it was cool to get some brand new tracks from them. They evolve in a sort of martial, misanthropic black metal/punk hybrid with French lyrics and they're groovy as hell. Their sound explores both the old schools of punk (think of French cult legends Bérurier Noir) and black metal. It has this sort of tongue in cheek violent dark humour. It's irrreverent and full of disdain for the (sometimes) disgusting societal conventions, Oppression is a necessary force against crooked cops and political abuses. 
Sovannak intertwines between clean vocals with a militaristic vibe (this includes chanting) and screams full of hate. The bass is thick, the drums beats perfect for a rebel militia parade and the guitar plays these incisive yet super catchy riffs without any frills. The angry vocals of "Esprit bestial" were a clear highlight for me, the loud bass of "Sans retour possible" were also pretty damn cool. Definitely one of Montréal's most interesting bands, they're a great example of the crossover between punk and metal and shows how well the two genres can be mixed together.

Verglas has been releasing a bunch of stuff since 2009, mostly demos but this is their first split release. J. (or Jonathan in non-black metal speech) played with Sovannak in Putamen Insula and currently plays with him in the coldwave/post-punk band Noyade so there so there's a real connection between the two Montréal based projects found on this split. Verglas (icestorm) plays a primitive, lo-fi sort of black metal with a lot of punk elements, their genre can be compared to Bone Awl (they played gigs with them back in 2012) and Raspberry Bulbs. They often use samples (see the demented French samples of their “Satanisme Juvénile” demo) but not this time, their three short songs are jam-packed with fast riffs and cold as fuck drumming. I like their rehearsal room feel, it's raw but the fast riffs are well-recorded. Their vocals are screechy and can be linked to the depressive black metal scene, they're buried underneath the guitars and this gives us a damp and dangerous atmosphere that makes me feel uneasy but happy.

I must note that their last track is called “rouge-gorge” or “robin” in English and I'm pretty sure that's the first black metal song dedicated to this particular bird. To be fair, it's a pretty lovely creature. Now, if only these guys could offer us something more substantial like a full length... No need to clean the sound, it's already super adequate for their genre, I don't like my steak burned to a crisp and likewise, I think the lo-fi approach is the best for them. Well done, fellows, it's perhaps the strongest material they ever wrote.

The tape was released by Primal Vomit based in Florida which I believe is Sam Morgan's label and I'm happy that Québec is exporting two of its best black metal bands. Age of Lust is a promising project and I look forward to more compositions by them. Pretty damn good split.

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