Sometimes a quick description is simply the best, right? Okay: If a record begins with a song called “The Vomiting Choir“ and this songs again starts with the overlapping sounds of several vomiting “sessions”, then you’d better not expect dreampop, right? But if there are more than 20 minutes following this initiation point, then one should also not expect pure 20 minutes of metal massacre of the steady blastbeat-kind. And lastly, if that track is released by any Markov Soroka-project, then it’s surely clear that we are gonna get quite a thrill-ride!
Markov has been involved in many projects like Aureole, Krukh or Slow (not to be confused with the Belgian-based Funeral Doom band); recently he’s been quite involved with Drown, his one man Funeral Doom band, and very often he has released his music via Lupus Lounge, a sub-label of Germany-based high-quality label Prophecy Productions, which has been featured on VoS also quite often, because of their awesome releases. Now Markov and Lupus Lounge release a split-record featuring his Avantgarde-Death Metal project Tchornobog that teams up with Abyssal, the UK-based blackened Death-Doom-project. By the way, it’s quite hard to call this an EP because the two tracks together add up to nearly 48 minutes! Yes, both bands contribute one track and both are basically 24 minutes long; okay, to be precise, the Tchornobog track is 21 seconds longer, as if it mattered, Jack Black-clone! And the amazing cover, which seems like a cross between Breughel, Dali and contemporary Surrealism, already gives us a good notion of what is gonna come. Blood-dripping screams and growls, somehow floating bat-like background elements which only gradually can try to dominate the chaos and a diabolical whirlwind of death-metal based chugga-chugga drums with the hard hitting guitar blocks dropping into a never-ending abyss forever to meander in our minds. Minds that are already over-strained by the whole arrangement full of symbols and figurative meaning.
The same will happen if you try to understand the songs each in one go. The mind will go blank when listening to ”The Vomiting Choir” & “Antechamber of the Wakeless Mind” as both are very densely composed. For example, the un-trained ear will probably not notice the importance of a break like the one in ”…Choir” after roughly ten minutes when the dense death metal riffing makes way for some harsh ambient soundscapes supported by much slower (yet not doomy!) guitar lines that, when later accompanied by some quite shifty drums, can re-ignite the whole track but in a much more somber atmosphere. This short break however functions like the eye of the storm on the cover. Only hear one can hear the tormented screams of those still affected by the storm raging over their heads. Without really noticing it, the audience is then once again faced by a classic Tech-Death-outro and finds itself being pulled up indefinitely by the pure rage of the last bits of the track.
When ”Antechamber…” starts, it feels like a relief, from not having to suffer the malice and spite of the “opener”: We get some very slowly ascending path which is indefinable either supported by a guitar movement or a simple synth-drone. When the real drone part pulls up after a minute and the first riff is handed out to us, it is much doomier, nearly like Funeral Doom and, yes, that comes as a welcome change. Nevertheless, no one would expect the track to be nice, mellow, and pure Gothic-ness in FD-minor. It is obvious, because of the various drum eruptions, that there is gonna be more to this track than one might expect at first glance. But here the songwriting is somehow inverted to its predecessor, here the track starts with a lot of Doom-elements before it incorporates classic Death-Metal drumming and riffing. Nonetheless, it is quite obvious that this track is a bit more diverse and shifty, “hellish abyss”, even symphonic at times, than the other track. Abyssal also play pretty cleverly with that, sometimes even giving us moments of pure guitar passages without a dominant rhythm section so that one can “understand” it more quickly. Don’t get me wrong, you can still scare the shit out of people with this song, especially in these bubblegum-laden Christmas-songs-times we are in right now.
Is this the split of the year? Might be – for some Avantgarde-Death Metal this is definitely gonna be it. And to everyone who likes to get a lot of value for his buck – you won’t get more anywhere for less. Also not for more. This is surely a hell of a ride.