What happens when three bands come together and contribute songs to make a split album? Well for starters it isn’t just three artist, but a plethora of folks involved in the final output of this album. Every song has extensive set credits rolled out. Bismoth, features Rebekah and Jethro de Beer, which is a South African Black Metal band, TIMORATUS features the husband and wife, David & Courtney Napier, a Black/Death/Grindcore from Kentucky, US and Symphony of Heaven an Unblack/Death Metal band, the brainchild of Logan Thompson from Indiana, US . Three different geographies, but all united for the love of Christ. The album was released on the 19th of March 2019 and is currently available on Bandcamp.
I start off with “Brothers, you are not alone” by Timoratus, which sets out at a tremendous pace with maddening blast beats and chunky riffs and guttural screams that holds the song together. The lyric sheet helps to decipher the meaning which stays layered within the screams. A bunch of people came forward on the vocal duties for this song, David Napier, Mason Beard, Thomas Eversoul, Jake Martin, Quincy Kane Morris, Max Kevin Ølstøren, Mark-David Palmer, Zack Plunkett, Luke Renno, Mitch Underhill and Peter Watson. Now isn’t that something! “The Root of Unity” by Timoratus, sets out an chill soundscape as it starts and takes no time delve into the death/grind core with lightning speed beats, high tonal guitars and with the organ barraging only to get us some clean vocals and adding a bit of flavour to this heavy song. We again have a bunch of folks on the vocal duties with the likes of Anna Martin, Courtney Napier, Johanna Fincher and Stephanie Baker.
Symphony of heaven
Next up, “Death to Denomination” by Symphony of Heaven, we have Pathos (stage name for Logan) on vocal duties and what an incredible start with the infernal scream. He brings out raw and rugged heaviness with his music and sets off pace brining in memorable guitar riffs as we pass through the intro of the song. There are bursts of madness with the blast beats muddled with guitar chugs that trembles and ravishes you. “For Glory” opens to eclectic guitar strums with an eerie keys hanging in the air, Logan takes no time to change the songs momentum and moves to chunky guitar riffs married with frightening vocal deliveries. This segment, according to my humble opinion, was the best for it had structure and well laid out song arrangements.
We now foray into “Anguish and Agape” by Bismoth, which starts off with an acoustic piece, taking the tempo of the album to slower speed, a welcoming change. But before we get too comfortable, things mix up and we hear a barrage of over sped drums and guitars with a chilly voice hovering. Then again things slow down abruptly and all of it feels a little unreal, as if the song is programmed. “In Christ together” starts off with a muffled guitar riff abruptly taking a halt as we hear a set of voices in a discourse. Well, the song feels disconnected and is forcefully being put together. We do have collaboration on the vocal duties with Rebekah de Beer, Sam Morifi, Pete Ball, and Benjamin Dohrmann in addition to Jethro. Not my favourite bit, but there is a lot potential and opportunity here.
Production – Now since this is a split album, the production isn’t consistent. This must have happened as these bands would have separately mixed, mastered and produced their tracks giving a bit odd experience when it comes to production. Or maybe its because I received the .wav files which lacked production duties.
Conclusion – I liked the concept at start, but as I progressed through the album, it didn’t feel like an album to me, but more of a compilation. What is good, is that you get to hear three different bands from across the world trying out an idea but the culmination and closure wasn’t convincing.
Written by: Ankit Sood
1. TIMŌRĀTUS – Brothers, You Are Not Alone 05:41
2. TIMŌRĀTUS – The Root of Unity 06:14
3. Symphony of Heaven – Death to Denomination 06:29
4. Symphony of Heaven – For Glory 05:46
5. Bismoth – Anguish and Agape 09:34
6. Bismoth – In Christ Together 04:11