Thy Winter Kingdom / Permixtio      

Split (Gnosis / Resurrezione)
Black Tears Of Death

This split of obscure-sounding, cult Italian bands is filled with intelligence and arcane devilry.  Both of them bring their own madness and subterranean heresy to the album.  With that being said I will analyze them each separately.

Thy Winter Kingdom's side of the split is called Gnosis and is comprised of 4 tracks of Cold and horrifying black metal.  Immediately blasting in pace with a frigid main riff is Mourning Star.  It drops into mournful tones for a brief respite before unleashing unbridled hatred once more.  The tempo varies is approach yet the main riff still instills its influence on the track.  The icy riffs slowly build in intensity as The Serpent's Spell gets underway.  The guitar vibrate with fuzzed out treble and a death metal chug fills a portion of the song's interior before collapsing into a creeping, morbid segment.  Unsettling and chilling operatic female vocals set the mood on the instrumental track, P.O.S.  The final track from Thy winter Kingdom is the macabre ode, The Dance Of The Ancient Queen.  The plodding main riff brings to mind Carpathian Forest for some reason.  A cold, lifeless atmosphere permeates the composition, like it represents the onset of winter.

Permixtio has a somewhat fuller, more majestic sound.  The vocals are deeper and airy synths add depth and mystery to the tracks.  Resurrezione I begins with midtempo pacing and grand, nocturnal sounding guitar/synth interplay.  A beautiful lead sweeps across the song like a soaring eagle.  A folky passage of clean guitar and spoken word vocals adds to the epic quality before a speedy, nostalgic riff rushes forth like the front edge of a snowstorm.  Sorrowful and fragile piano falls lightly like rain on Limbo.  I am reminded of some of the work on Dimmu Borgir's Stormblast.  Resurrezione II meanders slowly, magically, as if caught in an alluring spell.  The vocals rasp like a warmth-starved ghoul while the riffs circulate and fall only to build once more.  The song climaxes with a flurry of speedy riffs and then falls into despair with a final, fragile clean guitar.

In a long line of quality releases that Black Tears Of Death have put in my mailbox, this might be the best.  Both bands are highly engaging, yet stand defiantly against mainstream commercialism.  True, underground black metal is the fire that fuels these two entities.