Written by: The Administrator
Splits. You gotta love 'em--particularly when they succeed at A. delivering high quality tunes, and B. serving as a solid introduction to participating parties. It's an odd (yet glorious) occasion when a split features two tracks that compliment each other's strengths without outshining the other's performance. Lucky for you and I, The Plague Split nails that fine balance with a delicacy at odds with the sheer sonic decimation wrought within it's short-yet-mighty runtime.
The split before ye marks a certain uncharacteristic brevity for both parties involved, and so, keeping in spirit, this review shall be uncharacteristically brief as well. That isn't to say, I hasten to add, that it isn't worth every second of yer while--because it is. Without further ado: let's get destroyed, shall we?
As we previously gushed in our review of Advent Varic's debut album Tumulus, their brand of blackened doom seeks to provide something beyond fuzzy riffs with the application of blackened vocals. Rather, it's a a tumultuous and inventive sonic affair--indeed, as stated, "the atmosphere is sharp and harsh, the leads jagged and somewhat startling in their aggression. That said, Advent Varic’s world isn’t one of cold vacuum and frostbitten exterior: both tracks herein are utterly drenched in tumultuous melodic currents." This characteristic is only amplified here. In comparison to earlier Advent efforts, think somethin' along the lines of the wildly eclectic outro to Side B, rather than Side A's basis in forthright doomy riffage. There is a lot going on in "The Plague of Adrya," particularly given that it is, y'know, just over 4 minutes long. The vocals are harsh and strained as ever--like unto a distant cosmic beast screeching through your galactic portal of choice. The leads are high-pitched, squealing across the layered abyss with a chaotic determination. The atmosphere is relentlessly complex--decidedly proggy in its intricate construction. While the track as a whole irrefutably slaps, I'm a big fan of the last minute or so, where all of the elements merge and meld in climatic fury. It's yet another Advent Varic banger, and I'm excited to hear the larger project it is attached to.
Moving on, let's bury deep within the still-warm cavities of ye olde Opium Warlock. "Shirō Ishii" might be my favorite effort yet from this Czech psychedelic sludge concoction. This track is certainly a lot closer to Opium Sunrise than Opium Warlock's recent ambient work, albeit with a little more grit and menace. "Shirō Ishii" leans heavily into a thick--veritably tar-laden--tone, slogging along with the kind of weight that can only be described as physical. Every moment spent with this beastly tone is the sonic equivalent of having your lungs trodden on by a troll. But yet, the track exercises great dynamics, leaning into a (comparatively) lighter section where the chaos quells and the drums, bass, and menacing whisper carry the way. The main simple-yet-arresting riff churns on stoically, while assorted layers of guitar and borderline toilet-gurgle vocals roar away under the current. This track recalls "The Plague of Adrya" in its sheer willingness to lean into the unexpected. Much like Advent Varic's contribution, the last minute (give or take) serves to compile the sights and sounds for resounding conclusion.
In sum: two tracks from talented artists that complement each other quite well, particularly considering the unique corners of the metal universe that they respectively occupy. If you're looking to have your mind blown and soul crushed in, well, a very short span indeed, I wholeheartedly recommend you check this split out.
Advent Varic / Opium Warlock - The Plague Split was released Aug. 21st, 2020 from Fuzzy Cracklins Presents
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!