Band: DAGORATH / OCCULTUM / MORDHELL / CZORT
Title: Under the White Flame
Label: Under the Sign of Garazel Productions
Style: Black Metal
Four-way split presenting four obscure, up and coming Black Metal bands from Poland, country with one of the most effervescent Black Metal scenes lately (actually ever since the '90's...).
Opening are Dagorath with three tracks of intense, heavy, ferocious Black Metal defined by a balance between slower and faster rhythms up to some that are totally insane, demented screams and growls, fast-paced drumming, an upfront bass line and two layers of guitars delivering some repetitive, intoxicating riffs seconded by atmospheric leads, and the overall result is pretty spot on I'd say. The atmosphere is somber, obscure, dangerous, basically all a fan of the genre would require from such a release. I don't like some parts though, like the totally weird drums and bass passage from the end of the first track or the fast, game-like passage from the beginning of the second track, or the end of the third track, passages that change the atmosphere completely and take it towards ridiculous, hope they'll avoid such passages in the future as this is a very promising band.
Occultum from Torun are featured with two tracks only, but quite long tracks I'd say, enough for the listener to understand what the band is all about. Their music is fast paced Black Metal with Pagan influences a la Bathory, but not only; I'd say some Heavy Doom is also of influence for this band making their music quite vast, and the addition of melodic leads makes it even more accessible for the listener although the main impression is of a visceral, violent Black Metal band. I think they did a very good job presenting themselves on this split, definitely another band to keep an eye on.
Mordhell are from Poznan and they might just be the most known band on this split as they've just released a new album on Pagan Records. Their 4 tracks featured here present us a fast paced Black Metal with Punk and Rock'n'Roll influences, organic sounding, stripped of too much polishing, quite repetitive and hence catchy for the listener. The shrieking main vocals are supported by growls from time to time, the guitar riffs are not that varied and quite predictable, and to tell you the truth I'm not that impressed by this band's performance here; music for drinking (and maybe smashing some bottles on your head in the process), but far from being menacing in any way.
Mysterious (quintet?) Czort ends this split with two tracks of mid-tempo to fast paced Black Metal with melodic guitar leads inserts that manage to stir the atmosphere towards an oppressive, dark, somehow dreamy mood, but don't get me wrong, the band still keep the aggressive, vicious, heinous patterns of traditional Black Metal. Some drums passages are quite Poppy from my point of view, at least on the second track, and combined with the repetitive refrain give an interesting color to the music, maybe a hint of the band's trajectory in the future which would be interesting to see/hear, but maybe I take this too far though.
As a conclusion we get here four bands from the so varied Black Metal territory, each with their own take on this style, each with their own identity. Very cool, recommended!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10 8/10 7.5/10 8/10