ETERNAL SOLSTICE / PENTACLE - Split 7"EP (DARK DISCIPLE - EP 2013)
In my opinion this is one of the most important releases of the first half of 2013, when speaking of old school underground death metal. All in all here are two essential Dutch bands; one which wasn’t active for years and just decided to come back and record a couple of their old and never recorded songs and one, which I have a lot of respect for, but which sadly disappeared after their last LP for almost eight long years, probably mainly because its frontman and undisputable leader joined Asphyx and sacrificed a lot of his time for this cult band. Do you know which bands I’m talking about here? They’re Eternal Solstice and Pentacle – here both bands are joined in the unity of death on excellent release, which is a double 7”EP (one vinyl on 33rpm and one on 45rpm). Each band holds their own 7” record and everything is housed in killer gatefold cover, with an extra insert, which has some lyrics. Speaking of the way Dark Disciple has released this material, I have nothing more to desire, but just admire it. It looks great, it sounds great… Sure, if I cared then I would probably pick up the coloured vinyl version with a patch, but I’m not so bothered, the most important is that I have a copy of this split, before it’s all gone and sold out.
But let’s give it a listen, shall well? Personally I was very curious for both bands, as both have disappeared for so many years… Eternal Solstice holds vinyl one with two new songs. Well, certainly it is great to hear this band again. Recently I reminded myself how great they once were, when I bought “The Wish Is Father to the Thought” vinyl re-issue (killer album!!!) and now I can hear a new recording from Eternal Solstice, but with two songs, which the band composed in the old days. And I must say the band sounds a bit weird; and these songs are OK, but nothing more than that. The music is solid, well played, filled with aggression and old school feeling, I certainly like those quite thrashing, but still heavy riffs… but maybe if the production was slightly better then the whole stuff would make a stronger impact on me? Not that it is bad or something, but just could have been better. “Venomous Womb” is a nice song, with some cool riffs and hits the guts brutally, while “Tempter of Mankind” is slower, slightly more groovy and melodic… That old school feeling is present there definitely, the band haven’t forgotten what death / thrash metal is all about, even if it already has been 15 years, since they’ve released their final CD “Demonic Fertilizer”. So, yeah, I like the songs, but I just feel like they lack a bit more aggression, especially on the vocals. Eternal Solstice came back and it is good, but quality wise I hoped for something more killer… I hoped for something better and not so mediocre, especially when speaking of “Tempter of Mankind”, which is not my favourite song at all (“Venomous Womb” is way better).
And now Pentacle!!!!!!! Wannes Gubbels spent few years in the successful reunion of the Asphyx – and as a big fan of Asphyx I am very grateful to him, that he was one of the forces behind such an amazing LP as “Death… the Brutal Way”. But maybe he felt that he neglects Pentacle too much and maybe this was the reason why he has left Asphyx and so soon Pentacle recorded something new? I don’t know, but I’m happy for it. Eight years since “Under the Black Cross” is way too much. This EP contains two songs: “The Bloodless Eye” and “Four Poisoned Tongues, Four Poisoned Arrows” and the whole have been dedicated to “the armed forces of the Commonwealth and Greece and the population of Crete for putting up such a brave fight in 1941-1944”. Yeah, once more Pentacle digs the war themes and as I always liked it in Bolt Thrower, Asphyx or Hail of Bullets, I also like it here. Obviously musically Pentacle is not too similar to Asphyx, they’re more primeval, going more to the roots of extreme metal and stuff like Hellhammer and Celtic Frost… They’re also not as good as Asphyx, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the music… it is actually the opposite. I love the feeling of if, that ruthless and obscure atmosphere, great old school riffing and killer harsh voice of Wannes… Both songs from this EP are excellent and both are perfect to listen to, to bang the head and drink some beers. Pentacle surely is one of a kind band, totally underestimated, which is a shame, but surely a killer act. I cannot imagine an old school metal freak who would not worship these sounds… From the two songs I guess I like “Four Poisoned Tongues, Four Poisoned Arrows” slightly more, as it is a bit faster and also catchier, just wonderful for maniacal banging and first throwing… pure, fierce aggression and obscurity… surely such sounds will never (!!) let us forget that ancient feeling! Can’t wait to hear next full length album now!
Final rate: 85/100