ENTH / AMAROK - split

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doomantia.com: The split is out as vinyl-only version with cool dark-looking ornaments and package, plus a digital version available via Bandcamp.I knew Amarok already from the Sludgeswamp time when they had submitted their début album about one year ago. That album became the object of one of my last posts at the Sludgeswamp before the closure. Enth is new to me, and a cool discover. Surprisingly all Enth’s guys are strictly related to the grindcore and death metal/crust Polish scene. Both bands practice ultra-heavy doom styles that combine and make this split an accomplished opus consisting of music with a strong impact and loaded with atmosphere. Doom/sludge in general, and, I guess, funeral doom in particular, need passion and patience in order to catch and get the most of the variety in the shades of this type of music which may sound “unpleasant” to many. Enth and Amarok do share similarities in their style, and this is testified by the organic whole character and the sense of continuity of the two parts of this split. But monotony is avoided by the role played by the different minor components that “contaminate” each band. Both bands play massive, painful, sluggish doom metal. Enth is devoted to explore paths into funeral doom and dark, old-school doom death metal with excursions into black metal (at least vocal-wise …) as well as acoustic music, therefore with analogies with Corrupted, as well as with Asunder, Loss, Laudanum, and bands like Timeghoul etc. Amarok plays a tortured blend of bleak drony sludge-doom influenced both by bands like Khanate (chant-wise too) as well as Burning Witch, Cough, Grief, Moloch, Moss, Salome, Thou etc., although Amarok also express a (small) groovy side as well. So you’ve got about 40 minutes of mammoth-paced, down-tuned, even catacumbal doom which is made “savoury” and enjoyable by many small things and features regarding the minor but essential stylistic components of these bands. The split album includes two almost 20-minutes long suites, one for each band: Enth - Caverns of Advices (18:00) and Amarok - IV - Survival (19:47). I guess, one for each side of the LP (I have only the digital version). Enth’s suite, Caverns of Advices, starts immediately as a heavy and plodding march in the best tradition of heavy, epic and occult doom. The powerful start takes you immediately amidst a dark occult ritual performed into a secluded cave where the multiple chanting styles of the band’s vocalists develop: monk-like dark clean chanting, then deep, almost whispered growl and evil explosions of devilish screams of black metal affinity. The slow distorted, down-tuned riffs duly mark the progression of the dark ceremony. The two down-tuned guitars follow independent melodic paths except when they merge, accelerate and contribute to some great moments of “explosion of wall of sound” with the support of a powerful, solid drumming. The insertion of minimalistic acoustic parts dilutes the mammoth heaviness and the sense of darkness and gloom only for a short time but do add a peculiar melancholic flavour to the dark, and sometimes rather menacing atmospheres. There are two acoustic insertions mostly in the second half of the suite. The first one is led by a slow, simple, vibrating guitar melody coupled with a delicate succession of notes on a piano and some somber whispers. The second interval closes the suite with a mournful interplay of guitar and the melancholic sound of cello. Amarok’s suite, “IV - Survival” duly starts in a soft, acoustic-like way as a sort of reprise of the melancholic and somber outro by Enth. I don’t know if this is casual or done on purpose, but its effect as a bridge between the two tracks is great, especially when heard as a continuum via the digital version of the album. The soft intro develops via a guitar chord reverberating in the silence until cymbals and some background rapid fuzz announce the start of another obscure ceremony marked by a slow plodding rhythm. Doom heaviness is back with an unbearably slow pace able to make you hold your breath till the next screech of the guitars. It is a sort of sonic deprivation of oxygen induced by a molasse-heavy progression of slow Sabbathian riffs and sparse, almost ritual heavy drumming, alternating with numbing solos of cymbal vibrations and painful vocals. The resulting rhythmic heaviness also reminds of the sound of bells announcing a funeral (in spite of the “survival” title …). Chant-wise Amarok employ dual vocal styles (another affinity with Enth) although singing here varies between tortured sludgy shouts, painful screams and background deep, mournful gurgling or whispering growls. As in Enth, the richness of shades and the pathos conveyed by these variable vocal styles are impressive. In Amarok the melody is probably simpler than in Enth, although periodically the two guitars in Amarok interact with separate melodic lines and effects. But also Amarok dilute their gloomy, gut-tearing monolithic sound and enlighten the dark grievous atmospheres by the adoption of more dynamic sounds and trippy and groove-laden melodic lines of psych-doom/desert rock affinity in the last minutes of the long suite. There the lighter, trippy melodies have an effect of “corrosion” of the singers’ tortured screams that struggle until the end. This massively sounding album is so “physical” that couldn’t but be released as a slab of wax, pitch black solid, heavy vinyl. An experience to do and an object to have

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