Old Soul & ██████ – Split

Artist: Old Soul & ██████ 

Title: Split

Release: LP / Digital

Year: 2014

Label: Zegema Beach Records, IFB Records, Dingleberry Records and Distribution, Maniyax Records, Pike Records, Mosh Potatoes, Suspended Soul Records

I may be slightly fangirling but every time I see the black rectangle ██████ standing for those guys’ name (or its lack) I know I’m in for something powerful and personal. I’m kinda put off by the astonishing amount of raw, underproduced music from Poland, Czech Republic, Russia etc. I’m kinda sick of the xeroxed crust punk artworks shoving in my face just another poorly written anti-capitalist mumbo jumbo. That’s why I get excited about ██████ because behind the black geometric shape of their anonimousity lies deep love for music and words really worth sharing, shaped as a piece of art that few are able to assemble so crafty.

Unlike on their debut demo from last year ██████ are not alone on this record. It’s opened by Old Soul instead. A US band which I’m pretty certain I hear for the first time. What they’re playing is dissonant beyond reality and fractured black metal, but the band has gathered influences from a huge range of genres, so don’t be surprised if you hear crust, post-rock and mathcore. Both tracks are a chaotic soundscape with extreme peaks, where walls of distortion and painful voices are from time to time tranquillised by beautiful melodies which are either also heavily distorted or, on the contrary, semi-acoustic and comforting. The pieces are pretty different from each other and if it weren’t for the different production you can think Emerald is a song by ██████. So much for splits being non-homogeneous. This one here is perfect. I’m only a bit pissed off because at the time when I’m writing this I can find no lyrics for Old Soul’s tracks and I’m pretty curious what are they about. I’ll surely catch up on the discography of this band. They are coming to Europe as well, check out the dates here.

Let’s take a look at ██████. First of all a huge leap forward in terms of production. The old sound of the band is now left in their demo and we have an awesome, bit more polished but again very suitable work allowing each and every detail the band put in those two pieces stand out. And there’s a lot happening in barely 20 minutes of music. We’re introduced to V by a slow-paced ambiance, structured by guitar chords. They are patiently coming in waves to let a great acoustic melody start a tense build up. Then everything bursts into the fierce black metal ██████ are playing. It’s like a storm which burns in noises and glitches, while beneath it a new layer of heavily distorted melodies start morphing (Lurker of Chalice style). Once they’re gone the piece undergoes yet another transformation from melody to pure hell. The same hell that reveals VI. No remorse in those tracks, only desperation-soaked black metal, building an altar to loneliness, solitude and isolation, a soundtrack to the inner battles each of us calls life. And the lyrics, the vocals… I swear, in Michal’s voice you can hear the whole humanity crying for help.

“I am lying in the dirt 
Choking with my every breath 
I can’t breathe 
I can’t breathe 
I can’t breathe 
I don’t want to”

~ VI

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.