Cult of Erinyes / Zifir - _Cult of Erinyes / Zifir_
(Tanquam Aegri Somnia, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
One of this year's pleasant surprises is the discovering of this godforsaken two-way split and the acknowledgement of the very existence of both Belgian band Cult of Erinyes and Turkish band Zifir; a couple of very different entities comprising this exceptional split album.

Listening to an album, especially black metal, one can mostly notice the similarities between said album and almost every other album out there sharing the same aesthetics. What makes certain albums singular, or stand out among the herd, is usually very subjective. What can't be disputed is the fact that certain musical outputs do sound alien and strange on the objective level; bands with a distinctive sound, strange songwriting paradigms and unique vocals or instruments. On the other hand, an album can sound like any other album out there, and still exercise a healthy dose of singularity, not in the aural output per se, but rather by the sheer conviction with which the music is played, or a level of violence so potent, it practically touches the physical; or something more insidious and metaphysical than that.

Both bands featured on this split harness a different approach to blackened metal music, each taking the originality factor from a different angle.

Cult of Erinyes play some of the most violent, heavy and unrelenting black/death/dark metal that is totally mesmerizing. Keeping the music dynamic and melodic at all times thanks to atmospheric keyboard lines and insane drumming, the music itself is nothing but a black mass of harmful riffs and almost incessant blasts, aided by a vocalist with phenomenal bestial vocals alternating between death metal belches and black metal screeches and the explosive force and ferocity of the harshest industrial music out there. Even if Cult of Erinyes' share of three tracks featured on this split is not industrial black metal par excellence, the beyond-violent vitriol of sonic poison oozing from the speakers has immediately made me think of Swedish band Diabolicum (_The Killing Spree 1.5_ and _The Dark Blood Rising_ albums especially), due to the freezing atmosphere and the stone-cold ruthlessness of the music, its ability to summon nuclear war visions and the bloody doom ambience of post-apocalyptic hopelessness the listener can't help but envision.

Zifir, on the other hand, own a different sound tone altogether; Zifir's contribution to this split album are four tracks of slow, ritual-sounding black metal with a very distinctive sound that's both raw and unripe yet charming nonetheless, coupled with a very dominant vocalist with an unmistakable voice that's both gritty and emotional, and an overall very Burzum-esque feel. The strong ritual/occult ambience prevalent throughout the music makes it sound a tad Italian, along the lines of Mortuary Drape, but make no mistakes: Zifir's output is totally singular, and although it might echo some Burzum / Mortuary Drape influences, the music is altogether a personal triumph of originality versus atmosphere.

Zifir may sound less organic compared to Cult of Erinyes due to the lack of a full line-up of musicians and the incorporating of synthetic aids (you may think the drums are all programmed by they are actually played by a human) and their music is way more sparse and melodic, even contemplative, compared to the reaping ferociousness of Cult of Erinyes' 3-track attack, however whereas the latter rely on heaviness and speed, the former rely mostly on spiritual impact; sort of grievous bodily harm versus grievous spiritual harm, if you will.

In the end, this split album is definitely among the most interesting musical outputs the underground has spawned in recent times; its charm lies not only in the sheer excellence of both bands' music, but also in the wise choice of releasing an album showcasing two extremely different bands from two opposite positions on the black metal spectrum and how each band can still deliver an artful, malevolent and original metallic produce of the highest order.

This split comes as highly recommended!

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(article published 28/7/2013)


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