Arckanum / Contamino - _Kosmos wardhin dræpas om sin / Emptiness Enthralls (...and the World Is Not Enough...)_
(Carnal Records, 2003)
by: James Montague (6.5 out of 10)
Split 7" EPs are a great idea -- they're cheap, they often pair up little-known bands with bigger names, and they're often quite well presented as the two bands face each other off on the vinyl battlefield.

In this case, the established band is Arckanum, who have plenty of full-length releases behind them (or him, as it's a one-man project) and a strong reputation in the black metal world. The one track on offer here is straight-up Arckanum -- this means classic riffs in the early '90s Scandinavian black metal style, with a touch of thrash and an epic, ancient vibe. The continuing habit of writing all lyrics and liner notes in Swedish and in an almost illegible old script reinforces this feel. To be honest, this isn't the best material I've heard from the band, but it is another strong composition by one of Sweden's finest black metal exponents.

The unknown quantity (at least to yours truly) is Contamino, who play raw, old school death metal. Opening with some amplifier fuzz, just to remind the listener of the demo recording conditions, the band launches into some fairly unoriginal but very catchy death hymns. The vocalist is like a cross between a standard death metal growler and a grim, unfeeling croaker like Inquisition's Dagon, providing an interesting focal point for the band. Contamino also provides the bulk of the content on this 7" EP, giving two full songs and a nice instrumental coda for good measure.

As is so often the case, a split EP has seen the lesser light take the honours. Now if only Sabbat would be upstaged on their next shared effort, that would truly be something...


(article published 27/6/2003)

7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 2 Arckanum - Kampen
6/7/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Arckanum - Kostogher
5/10/1996 A Bromley 6 Arckanum - Fran Marder
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