Marnost & Oaken – Split

Artist: Marnost & Oaken

Title:  Split

Release: LP / Digital

Year: 2014

Label: Bookhouse (USA), Catanarchy (Austria), Dingleberry (Germany), Dzsukhell! (Hungary), IFB (USA), Itai Itai (Hungary), Middle Man (USA), MxFxL (Czech rep.), Prejudice Me (UK), Rotten Raven (Slovakia), THC&DIY (Austria), Zegema Beach (Canada)

This one is grim, thick and heavy. Not your usual darkness though, but something achieved both by songwriting, production and the very packaging of the record.

Marnost come from the Czech Republic. They’re anarchist to the bone. Exist with no presence in the social networks (at least not one that I could reach) and the piece they have in the split with Oaken is a 17 minutes long sonic asylum that lingers somewhere beyond semi-acoustic and melodic passages which are disintegrated in raw black metal and crust outbursts with distant inhuman shrieks which serve more as an additional horrid texture and not as voice as a mean of social interaction. Maybe even the contrary. Die Hamletmaschine is introvert, violent and its structure is more like an implosion, building up with the sole purpose to cease its own black and white existence. A curious fact is the piece was made for a dance movie inspired by Heiner Müller’s work of the same title (Die Hamletmaschine) from 1979. Working in the field of media, theatre and performance music, I’d surely want to see and experience more contemporary scene arts with such sound environment.

In the other half of this 12″ grave we find Oaken – an obscure band from Hungary’s Budapest with additional percussions, synths and a lot of voices. Their music is more predictable and certainly something you’d expect to be on this split. However even if Oaken are not reinventing the wheel their tracks are tight and massive. Minor melodies, abrasive bass, tense build ups to savage crust blasts. All those backed up by a wide range and variety of vocals with lows almost reminiscent of Corrupted. The lyrics in I am the Crucifix are figurative yet dedicated to everything that you’d expect a crust band to be criticizing – the world, the church, the bank system. I’d spare the listener the track explanation on this one because they’re depriving you a bit from the magic and the vision the lyrics themselves may provoke. Fuck banks anyway, why bother writing music about them. In this sense Redeemer, the second Oaken piece in the split is way deeper and unexpected (and longer as well). Not to mention there are two melodic vocal passages lurking inside this song and they will destroy you!

The Marnost & Oaken split is co-released by an impressive number of labels and there’s a reason for that – it’s great. I know sometimes splits are like a one night stand, and are done simply because musicians share costs and share audience but I hope this collaboration between Marnost and Oaken will be more sustainable. I’d be really into hearing a common piece of those two bands, more drums, more vocals – a full-scale monolith of blackness.

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.