Thy Winter Kingdom / Permixtio - _Gnosis / Resurrezione_
(Black Tears of Death, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
Black Tears of Death is a label I know from the infancy era of the Internet; those days when the MP3 format of sound compression and delivery was a novelty that had stirred the cyber world. Re-emerging after several years of silence, Black Tears of Death celebrates its non-consecutive 16th year of existence with this fine split, comprising two unheralded Italian bands playing an unorthodox brand of black metal, each adopting their own unique style and a personal take on black metal that's distinctive and by no means uninteresting, to say the very least.

Thy Winter Kingdom offer four lengthy tracks, one of which an instrumental, bearing semblance to the trashing blackness of Necrodeath's _Into the Macabre_ and _Fragments of Insanity_, with altered velocities, thrashing guitars and evident bass lines. The vocals walk the seam somewhere between black and death metal and the sound is gritty and esoteric. The third track offered by Thy Winter Kingdom is a 180 degrees turn towards the realms of bizarre a cappella in the Diamanda Galás school, incorporating howling female vocals screeching upon a background of whistling wind.

Thy Winter Kingdom concludes with a seven-plus minute track of slowed down black/doom metal, flaked with some melancholic repetitive riffs coupled with a wall of distortion, where keyboards, synthesized string instruments and fat bass guitar pulses accompany the screamer in a tribal-like fashion, lending the track this martial essence, or a funeral procession feel of sorts. Either way, Thy Winter Kingdom's metal is captivating, unique both in compositions and sound, and offers the listener a somewhat fresh and twisted take on black metal, pushing its boundaries a little further. What's more, it emanates an occult-like sentiment; crooked, dark and secretive...

...Which could also be said about the other band on the split, Permixtio. They play a more melodic kind of black metal, with inclinations towards classical music (what with the beautiful, sad quasi-classical piano interludes); however, Permixtio go a different path, choosing melodic arrangements as the backbone of their music instead of an aggressive suit. This is a choice that ultimately results in a Baroque-like black metal; passionate, emotional yet cold, due to the fact the riffs and the relatively plodding pace, coupled with the semi-tortured vocals, bring the band closer to the depressive suicidal aesthetics so popular today among black metal musicians.

If you want to dub Permixtio's sound and style as depressive suicidal black metal, or for that matter, a black/doom hybrid -- go ahead, you wouldn't insult anyone. But unlike Xasthur and company, there's a streak of genius and a deep understanding of melody and songwriting capabilities here that far surpasses those of the aforementioned. The gritty, esoteric production and the atmosphere generated are not to be taken for granted as the product of yet another black metal outfit of the suicidal or depressive kind.

All in all, this split album is among the best musical outputs year 2012 has seen in general, and probably one of the finest splits you'll come by. These two bands perform dark and spiritual black metal in a very convincing manner, neglecting not for one second the melodic factor conveyed via the music straight to the hearts and minds of the audience. For chaotic, blistering metallic blackness, seek elsewhere.


(article published 29/12/2012)

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