Polish band Black Altar and Norwegian act Kirkebrann (which apparently means “church burning”) have both been releasing split albums in recent years, with the former not releasing an album of their own since 2008 and the latter not since 2013. I find that a little hard to comprehend as both of these bands have a lot to offer with hard hitting and interesting black metal, so possibly it is time to get rid of the comfort blanket and get out there on their own terms. Both bands had additional assistance with their songs on this release (Black Altar has three, Kirkebrann four, on the 31-minutre-long album), with Mauser (ex-Vader) working with Black Altar and Morfeus (ex-Limbonic Art) with Kirkebrann.

The two bands have similar styles of black metal, in your face when the time is right and far more reflective and atmospheric at others, and the result is an album which is compelling and really interesting. Split albums are often, at least in my experience, a little hit and miss yet this works well apart from the niggle that I would really like to hear a full album from each of them as opposed to just a few tracks. Each of the final tracks from the bands is totally different to the rest of the songs, with Black Altar being completely atmospheric and Kirkebrann playing an interesting acoustic guitar piece. Each of these begs to be on a full album where they have the opportunity to expand and use these to showcase a different style and create additional dynamics, but as it is all the listener can do is use this as a sampler to discover more about both bands as any fan of the genre will find these very interesting indeed.

Rating: 8/10


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