The new 7” split from Wolvhammer and Krieg showcases atmospheric black metal seemingly inspired by industrial music. In terms of a theme, the two tracks go together nicely, as both show disgust with the rat race of common human life. Considering that it is not often that two sides to a split complement each other so well, that particular aspect of the album is really cool.
The first half of the split, Wolvhammer’s “Slaves to the Grime,” was unfortunately really underwhelming for me. While the industrial feel is certainly present, I feel like the song would benefit if it was about half as long. The opening section goes on for a little too long, and the repetitiveness of the riffs doesn’t lend itself very well to the mid-tempo pace. Also, the lyrics sort of feel like something that angry highschool me would have penned; don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with misanthropy, but I like it even uglier in general. However, there are some riffs buried in the mix (the first time they happen is at 2:43) that lend the song a really cool texture in the middle part. I do really like that aspect of it, and as I said before, I feel like if the song was shorter it could highlight those cool parts while keeping the listener’s interest a little better.
The Krieg track, “Eternal Victim,” is a lot stronger, I feel. I’m not that familiar with Wolvhammer’s music, so I don’t have anything really to compare their track to, but I know Krieg a lot better (I saw them a couple of years ago and have a much-listened copy of “The Isolationist”), and I know that he has been doing industrial-tinted metal for quite a while. Also, the vocals don’t stick out of the mix, lending them that feel of being another instrument that I like so much in my black metal. They also have an echoey quality that’s pretty cool. While still being a largely atmospheric track, “Eternal Victim” shifts often in the chord progression and in switching back and forth between faster and slower parts, which keeps it interesting. It’s also about half as long as the Wolvhammer track, which I feel like is exactly as long as it needed to be.
The cover art of the split is a scene that I recognize well, having a picture nearly identical to it on my phone. In terms of symbols of destruction and human folly, you can’t get much more metal than the Coliseum, and I think the inclusion of the ripped up floor revealing where the animals and slaves were kept before the fighting is a nice touch. The color scheme is intriguing- neither of these bands are the sort of old-school black metal that demands for a monochromatic look. When I think of the Coliseum, I think of red, of the stench of hundreds of unwashed people, of spilled wine and fresh blood.
As far as strong points go, this split really succeeds in bringing together two different approaches that embrace the same style, and showing how both can comment on the plague of humanity in different ways. While I feel like the Krieg track is much stronger, the Wolvhammer song also has its cool parts, particularly in the layering of the guitar riffs in the middle section. It’s a strong split, and the two songs give each other energy and complement each other nicely.