IN CAUDA VENENUM / HEIR / SPECTRALE split (EMANATIONS - CD 2016)
Emanations, who released this CD, is a sublabel of Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions, who we all know from some excellent releases of bands like Maïeutiste, Paramnesia, Deluge and The Great Old Ones. What characterizes this label is that they specialize in releasing very uncommon, kind of experimental, avant-garde sounds. And it’s not different with Emanations, whose split between In Cauda Venenum, Heir and Spectrale I’ve been listening to for few days now. I honestly have never heard of any of these acts before and I doubt if many people did. I’m sure also that none of them will interest people, who worship only traditional, classic extreme metal sounds – so, if you do and you hate all those post / sludge / experimental metal bands then don’t waste your time, do whatever, but skip this review. For the rest of you, I can recommend quite interesting album, which took me a while before I really got into it. But once I captured its atmosphere, I really enjoyed it.
I guess you need to be in right mood for such atmospheric, contemplating sounds all these bands deliver. Definitely this split CD is not a release, which will bring you an utter aggression and viciousness only. Although there are some crushing, violent parts – Heir is a band, which is “most metal” and they even have some blasting, fast parts in their songs… but majority of this album is a quiet, nostalgic, melancholic music that sets a special mood and requires attention rather than drinking beers and headbanging. If you know what I mean by that.
Take Spectrale, who have three songs here. This is a musical project of Jeff Grimal from The Great Old Ones. What he does here is nothing else, but instrumental, ethereal atmospheric music – not metal at all. All his songs like “Al Ashfar” are acoustic, kind of mixed with ambient… I almost feel like Spectrale had specific role for this split album and it was to glue everything together in one conceptual piece. I cannot say though that these songs are anything special. It’s just acoustic stuff, but nothing what really captured my attention for long time.
In Cauda Venenum has just one, but 15 minutes long song, supposedly based on a Laura Palmer’s Theme from “Twin Peaks”. Well, I don’t know the original, so I cannot compare them. But I can say one thing – for me it’s worth to grab the whole CD just for this one masterpiece song, because it’s so bloody good! I simply love the atmosphere they evoke, the riffing and changes of mood – from harsh, even quite fast (post black???) metal to melancholic stuff, which is simply hypnotizing. They use cello, if I am not wrong, and this instrument makes a lot of greatness. It amazes me how it fits and at the same time fills the sound of In Cauda Venenum. It is just remarkable, mesmerizing and sometimes just beautiful. What a great job In Cauda Venenum then! If their self titled album sounds alike, then I wanna hear it.
Finally Heir, with three songs. Their music is definitely the most aggressive, it contains quite many really furious, blasting parts, smartly mixed with atmospheric bits that you can describe as post metal. And I have to say that I like these quiet, sometimes almost melancholic parts the most – like in “Upon the Masses”, which is really great song. This is when Heir music becomes really influential and mesmerizing. I’ve found some descriptions that say that there’s a black metal influence in Heir music – but I would not exaggerate. There’s simply nothing, what traditionally is called black metal there, so don’t take all those descriptions seriously. Heir is just experimental, post metal kind of band, which has an urge for harsh, sometimes quite fast type of playing and use screaming vocals, nothing else. Anyway, I have enjoyed their music. It’s not bad at all. Not as good as In Cauda Venenum, but very good indeed.
Standout tracks: “Laura Palmer, agonie à Twin Peaks”, “Upon the Masses”
Final rate: 70/100