Back in 2020, Van records put together an intriguing split release that was put out on both CD and LP, featuring German Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal one man project The Ruins of Beverast, and Icelandic Atmospheric Black Metal duo Almyrkvi.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Reykjavik and the surrounding countryside a couple of times in the last few years, and the desolate, bleak beauty that the place holds is akin to the musical output of Almyrkvi. Opening track ‘Asomatous Grove’ sets the tone with its stark plunging guitar tones, mountainous drumming style and raw, growling vocals. And much like their home city, Almyrkvi create a haunting, majestic background of sparsely used synth melody. As the opening track progresses the drum beats take on a grandiose sound that rises to crescendo often before crashing back down in an explosion of noise. I’d go so far as to say that the drums combined with the chanted backing vocals have an eerie, even hypnotic quality to them. I always find that songs of a larger time span can be more expansive, and this is no exception here, and so when the ominous wall of sound takes a break, a harsher melodic interlude can hold sway, complete with anguished vocal cries. More than anything though, Almyrkvi are superb at creating a fearful sound, like ice cold trepidation running through every pore of their work.
The Ruins of Beverast half of this release and their first track ‘The Grand Nebula Pulse’ opens slowly to the sound of haunting chanted vocals and the throbbing of bass. There is no rushing here and the track builds gradually, eventually admitting some brooding guitar tones and methodical drumming into the mix, and all the while an astral harmony plays in the background. The combination is completed by fearsome, lurking growled vocals which slither through the gloom to cast malicious poison into the ether. This track just builds and builds and never quite reaches climax, but is constantly unnerving and uneasy to experience. TROB closes out this stunning split release with ‘Hunters’, which showcases a far more direct and aggressive sound; sporting as it does a vast array of punishing drum tones, crushing bass play and howling, visceral guitar leads.
These two bands really compliment each other magnificently. they are both brooding and dark, as well as savagely intense and combines they create a very unsettling but bleakly enchanting listening experience.