I suspect that the average listener goes into a 7” split with a completely different mindset than the participating bands intended, but why not judge for yourself?
[Dreamy harp music and a shimmering cut scene. Members of two bands sit together around a long conference table. The night is either too old or the next morning too young, but either way they’ve been there for an age. The ceramic detritus of several rounds of espresso litters the table. Balled-up pieces of yellow legal paper are heaped in and near a mesh-wire trash can on the floor. Pencil erasers stroke thoughtful temples. Leather recliners creak as work-slippers settle on the table’s edge.]
Band Member #1: Say, fellow artist and respected member of my intellectual community, what if we used this shared vinyl release to highlight our aesthetic similarities and subtly hint that we members of this brother- and sisterhood of musical auteurs bathe in an ambiance of fellowship and glad tidings?
Band Member #2: Capital, old chum! Let us celebrate with a mental high-five as we await the impending fruition of our hard-fought and long-gestated plans.
[Dreamy harp music begins again, but is sharply interrupted by the sound of a scratching record and a warbling, triple-dubbed cassette of Cowboys from Hell. Professional jackass D. Obstkrieg sits on a couch that appears eligible to be condemned by municipal authorities. A fly perches on the edge of a glass, half-empty. Rubbish coagulates on every horizontal surface, and may very well have begun terraforming.]
D.O. : Ohhhhhhh man I bet this fuckin’ band is gonna fuckin’ CRUUUUUSH this other band on this split. Head to head heavy fuckin’ metal action assholes! U! S! A! U! S! A!
In summation: It’s hard not to listen to a split release like this with an ear toward competition. Even if the bands involved generally have a wide-ranging set of motivations for such splits, our atavistic genetic propensity for confrontation demands that each side be parsed and judged. In the case of this tidy little split between two Greek black metal acts, then, Ravencult certainly has an edge over Omega, even as both bands turn in one original song and one cover that hew closely to the maxim “Get in, rock out, go home.”
Ravencult’s new song here is “Deifier of Necromancy.” Though recorded six months after the release of Morbid Blood, “Deifier of Necromancy” is every bit of a piece with that landmark album of unfettered black metal ass-kicking. It leans heavily on the more punkish side of Ravencult’s range, opening as a fairly simple, d-beat led rampage that eventually slides into a crunchy, half-time bridge. The vocalist belts out a gnarly “OH YEAH!” at the end of a particularly nasty line, and in general, the listener smiles and smiles as Greece’s modern answer to a supercharged Bathory snorting moon rocks and punk attitude does what they goddamn do. Ravencult also steamrolls through a hell-raisingly faithful cover of Hellhammer’s “Massacra.” In, out, boom: feel the flames.
[Bonus Best Lyric: “Baphomet’s deathbreath reigns again.”]
Omega’s contribution is even a bit more firmly planted in the first-wave-repping black/thrash mold, but with a thinner and more heavily reverbed production. Throughout “Straight Down in Hell,” the performance is looser, and perhaps more lackluster than Ravencult’s, but the Venom attitude is pitch-perfect, and a rough-and-ready guitar solo that nearly shorts out the other instrumentation ought to put a great fat smile on your bullet-belted face. Omega also pays tribute to its countrymen in Zemial with a cover of “Full Moon Necrophilia” from the latter’s 2003 Face of the Conqueror EP, which, if nothing else, proves that if you can conjure up one grimy riff and the right portion of sloppy nihilism, you might just have a decent song on your hands.
[Bonus Best Lyric: “I hate to death / All of you and your fuckin earth.” Even if Ravencult scrapes out the overall win, Omega hits a walk-off homer to claim the Best Lyric crown.]
Life is really a simple thing, when you get down to it, and here you’ve got eleven or twelve odd minutes of we-don’t-care-if-you-like-it black(ish) thrash(ish) noise that’ll remind you of that just about as quickly as a reach-around from a friendly stranger in a gas station parking lot.
I’d best get going now, though; it sounds like the rubbish has become self-aware and wants to claim squatter’s rights.