Featuring Canada’s Garotting Deep and the enigmatic Swedish collective FŌR in diabolical partnership, ‘Void Asceticism’ is a triumphant encapsulation of two of underground death metal’s musical personalities. On the one side (literally), the split offers a frenetic, riff-heavy approach, high in delicious old school filth flavour and low in subtlety, while on the other, the LP brings the ominous, brooding character of death metal’s more esoteric contemporaries to the fore. The result is a release that while varied, retains an unfailingly menacing atmosphere.
Beginning by juxtaposing a tranquil birdsong against an unbridled riff-fest and display of cavernously guttural vocals, Garotting Deep’s initial two tracks provide both the release’s straight-to-the-point head-bang factor and its raging tempo. Both tracks merge rampant guitar work with chunky bass lines and a frantic drum assault to produce a sound that seems fresh from the 80s, while being simultaneously imbued with a decidedly modern demonic character. The band’s third contribution however deviates from the monstrous black/death formula, surfacing in the form of a cover of neofolk act Wardruna’s ‘Heima Thurs’, albeit in undeniably Garotting Deep style. The track is interesting both in its unveiling of how Wardruna’s music sounds when dripping with distorted guitars and growled vocals, but also in providing Garotting Deep with a chance to demonstrate their prowess at conjuring just as demonic an atmosphere at about a tenth of their previous speed. A curve-ball, but an intriguing and effective one!
FŌR then take centre-stage, and in contrast to the chaotic speed and aggression of the split’s first half, the impossibly dense and sluggish initiation of ‘Behexed by Mortuary Chants’ sounds even more devastating. That is until the song explodes into a gurn-inducing fit of blasts and unhinged riffing, and the split takes on an altogether more insidious and imposing atmosphere than previously shown. FŌR go on to establish an absolutely ungodly tone over the subsequent two tracks, with the sprawling, devilish vibe of ‘Spraekjo’ complementing closing track ‘Nectars of Serpants’ all-out onslaught on the senses, the band’s dualistic approach to creating atmosphere offering a highly gratifying listen, and validating their already deadly reputation.
Although startlingly contrasting then, with Garotting Deep exploding at the listener in a pungent whiff, and FŌR’s material flowing from the speakers like tar, the eclecticism and sheer talent present on ‘Void Asceticism’ makes it an essential listen, showcasing the international underground to be in fit, if filthy, health. A vital example of what the contemporary underground has to offer, and an essential listen for fans of the most evil sounds imaginable.
Released 16th January 2015
Iron Bonhead Productions