Friday, November 30, 2012

Free Music Friday: Satan's Basement/The Baptism Split Cassette

Today's review is an interesting one for me. I'll admit that even a month ago, I was unaware that either of these groups existed. Furthermore, baptisms and Satan are inherently at odds with each other, so I was a bit amused by the unintentional contrast of the names of the bands, which intrigued me. While these names might imply bedroom black metal wizardry of some sort, the music here is definitely cut from a different strain of the metal world. Satan's Basement spends a lot of time proclaiming love for Bolt Thrower and Cavity on facebook, and the influences show here, especially Cavity. The Baptism I've got a hard time pinpointing or naming, but we'll get to that as the review goes on. Regardless of genre, this is definitely a piece of music that belongs on a metal blog, and this is definitely a metal blog.

Starting things off is Satan's Basement, contributing five full tracks and four interludes to their portion of this split. Opening track "Debilitation Through Insolence" appropriately starts things off at a snail's pace with bellowed vocals and dense guitars.  I will admit that I have no idea what is happening with the programmed drums in the faster passages of this first track, but the riffs and the vocals are ominous enough to overcome my confusion, and I'm listening through computer speakers (since my tape hasn't arrived yet), so take that mild criticism with a grain of salt. While some tracks feature more traditional metal riffs, there is a generally thick feeling throughout this side of the split that showcases Satan's Basement's commitment to heavier sounds, displayed quite well on the punky "Jethro Racing Music." Cutting up the slabs of sludgy goodness are well-executed transitional tracks that help craft an atmosphere of anxiety and chaos that pairs well with the phenomenal artwork that accompanies this tape. I'll touch on the artwork more in a bit, but for now it's time to visit with The Baptism.

The Baptism follow up with five tracks of pure hatred. The shrieking feedback and relentless drumming paired with ominous and depraved vocals reminds me of some twisted hybrid of Today is the Day and mid-period Behemoth, back when they weren't sure if they were black or death metal. As both these projects are one-man bands, it's really fantastic to find two groups who sound so different yet clearly have so much in common. Their second track, "Exit," has me thoroughly impressed. It's a dense and confusing affair, but I can't help but nod my head along and tap my feet, which I imagine is the blogger's equivalent of "rocking out," as it were. The only thing I can say I'm let down by with The Baptism's side of the split is that I'd rather see another original piece instead of their cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley" that closes out this album. It's not poorly executed in any way, I'd just rather hear more tunes from this promising new group. Regardless, they manage to not butcher a well-known song, as many metal bands tend to do, so I still approve of their choice to cover this tune.

Finally, I must say that the artwork here is beyond remarkable. You may have noticed that I shared a different album cover for each artist. That's because these guys went out of their way to make sure that the split has the best damn art possible. Both artists run their own labels and each label has its own unique set of art. The mural pictured above is the masterpiece which both individual covers are cut from, and is displayed on the official facebook page for this split album, where you can also find the album available for the free download that you've been waiting for. If you feel like making the official commitment and getting this badass album art along with your music, you can purchase it from either Hildsvfar Records or Excess and Moral Decay Recordings. Since each label only has eleven copies of this split, I don't believe it's featured in either store. Just send them an email and you'll be able to receive a copy of this excellent split tape.

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