Released on April 1st, this split by Montreal’s Dark Circles and Oakland, CA’s Abstracter is one terrifying release, with some of the best output by either band. Made up of six songs, the split contains animalistic D-beat courtesy of the former and megaton doom courtesy of Abstracter, each half lovingly flavored with sharpest crust and void-rich black metal. Enjoy.
Dark Circles‘ four songs ride furiously on hell wings, leaving a trail of flurrying ash as they pass over. The aptly titled “Ashen” and “Void” are violence given form. “Ashen,” in particular, sets a high bar with its breathless pace, using the entirety of its brief two minutes to cut you repeatedly across the face. “Void” is less dark boisterous, instead filling its own fleeting time with contemplation and grimy atmospherics. “Isolate” is a far nastier creature, and daringly elegant, in an ugly but appealing form. Every bit as furious as “Ashen” and as drained as “Void,” “Isolate” is an uncompromising meditation on everything that Dark Circles does. Punctuating the track with gratingly melodic riffs, the song’s tone shifts fluidly between wrath and despair. At its best moments, it presents beauty constantly carried by an undercurrent of black metal’s purposeful unpleasantness and climactic breaks. “Epilogue (Quietus)” is a departure from its predecessors, trading charred paths of blast beats for a landscape beset upon by hopelessness. Wholly atmospheric, the tone cuts through with sampling of an indecipherable incantation crushed under graven shrouds of grey and plague. The instrumentation hear wails like a funereal chorus painting the nature of this brief soundscape for any travelers new to its grounds.
Abstracter’s contribution to this split is a pummeling two song, 20 minute assault on whatever tethers you to this world. “Barathrum” is a foreboding monster that slashes you to ribbons within seconds of its first snare hit. The vocals ooze over the instrumentation, seeping into your eyes like a sentient cancer, their dull roar adding flavor the song’s forlorn tone. The guitars fluctuate from a steady, icy thrum to skull-crushing breaks, twisting black and doom into one gnarly licorice-flavored Twizzler. This balancing act continues throughout the track’s nine minutes, which is done effortlessly as Abstracter blends their myriad styles into a cohesive whole of crust, black and doom metal. Their second addition to the split, “Where All Pain Converges,” begins with its feet firmly planted in bleak expanse of funeral doom, with the song’s pace quickening across its ten minutes. At its three minute mark, the track exhales a cloud of crusty miasma that settles over the track, flourishing and descending with the drums’ death-rattle trudge. At its closure, following a monstrous passage of noise, the dead affected by the guitars’ snarling battery rise again, crusted over, to indulge in a final helping of living flesh.