Ars Macabra / Cosmic Ekpyrosis
Nil Sine Deo 

Grom Records 2011

This two way split of chaos devotees is an experience in cold totalitarian black metal which is strange since both bands are from the cradles of democracy with Ars Macabra hailing from Italy and Cosmic Ekpyrosis calling Greece their fatherland.  

The first of the abyssic artists to share their unholy spiritualism on this release is Ars Macabra.  Their three tracks are as deep and dark as the endless void.  Straight guitar-oriented black metal with nocturnal melodies flows like blood on the track Manifestation of The Curse.  This is uncompromising and hated-filled.  At times I am reminded of Casus Luciferi era Watain but without any hint of commercialism.  Shards of disharmony pierce the abyssic veil as the song progresses towards the calm clean guitar at the song's center.  A well placed doomy lead draws the song towards its demise.  Insistent pounding drums and disharmonic riffs serve to disorient the listener on L.U.X.  A sawing main riff is punctuated by angular arcs of disharmony.  Then the track claws its way into some dragging doomy passages.  Their final track, Breed of Cain is as cruel and malicious and one might expect though the main riff is gripping and intense.  

Next is Cosmic Ekpyrosis' turn to deliver sweeps from the death's scythe via their unclean black metal sermons.  After a somewhat forgettable intro, the self-titled song fells thousands of holy angels with its slow building, yet cryptic ode to the world's demise.  The track then explodes into blasts of frigid guitars.  The vocalist displays a subterranean mood to his throaty utterings.  The songwriting is surprisingly melodic for such an uncompromising composition.  Eliminate The Trace of Reality once again starts slow and focused, utilizing a methodical march, then it erupts into a whirlwind of speed and violence.  The philosophical disdain for the white-light is mirrored within their music as evidenced by the driving, near-nordic riffing of The Devilish Angel.  The destructive force of the song's rhythmic nature are skewed into a bouncy, almost goth section towards the track's middle.  A horror-inducing period of atmospheric guitar broods in the shadows as the song draws towards its aggressive climax.  

Both artists here embody black metal traditionalism; guitar centered odes of cold blackness and ideological extremism.  Seek this out, but beware, the abyss is already staring back at you.