Urzeit & Akatharsia Split 10″

Urzeit and Akatharsia split

In late 2013, Portland act Urzeit released its first demo of stompy, aggressive black metal with a few twists. Not even a year later and they’ve followed it with another demo, a collection tape with songs from both demos, and now this, a split 10″ release with Bay Area newcomers Akatharsia. Akatharsia has slightly less prominence at the moment, but with their sold out debut demo from Psychic Violence earlier this year, they’ve already showed serious promise and seem poised to gain a following with the three songs they contribute to this release.

Urzeit’s offering to this split is a single track entitled “Schadlicher Einfluss.” The song’s nearly eight minute duration is a demonstration of diversity from a band whose prior works were never one-sided, but were clearly cut from the same cloth. The crawling pace and cavernous vocals displayed here show a band writing more for the live arena, less afraid of locking into an ominous vibe and more concerned with creating something enduring and evil. Still, this isn’t the primitive death/doom style that is ever-so popular right now. Instead, Urzeit channel a lumbering version of traditional black metal that seems like it could rip the earth in two. It’s not just the riffs, although the song is just bursting with them, but it’s also a massive production that makes it sound like everything is pushing towards a breaking point. I can only imagine how this will sound on vinyl, but this feels like it was made for it. What makes this strange new expansion so perfect, however, is that almost all of these elements were previously hinted at in Urzeit’s material to date, yet they are finally being brought forth and examined from a new angle. The song does still have moments of punk-infused murk and it absolutely has the same vocals and atmosphere at times, but it also has so much more. If this were the only material on this split, it would still be sufficient. Luckily, Akarthasia’s side shows its own dark potential.

 

With three songs to their side, Akatharsia displays a fusion of raw black metal and noise that should be both instantly familiar to many and unique in its own sense. Instead of Bone Awl or Legion Blotan worship, Akatharsia utilizes its noisy black chaos to channel a howling emptiness that is still very cohesive. There aren’t layers of static between the listener and the music nearly as much as there are many depths and textures within each moment of Akatharsia’s side. In a way, this is simply black metal played at an accelerated pace, running to a point of exhaustion until the meat of the music begins to fall from the song’s skeleton. The dripping, rotting sensation is accompanied by buried melodies that make it almost blissfully hideous. These three songs are both violent and mildly hypnotic. The pairing may sound odd but one listen and you’ll understand all too well. If you missed out on Akatharsia’s first demo, do not sleep on the chance to grab this one. If the hooks don’t drag you in immediately, the screeching of the opening and closing noise will humble you into submission.

 

Instead of relying on a label for support, the bands believed in this one enough to self-release. At ten bucks apiece, the pre-order for these records is a steal. Only Urzeit has pre-orders up for the album, although Akatharsia will have some copies once the album’s release date has come. This is easily one of the most exciting splits of the year. Each group has made its intent very obvious, so it’s only a matter of time before we hear and see a lot more about these artists.