Formerly only available on a joint 2008 tour, this fearsome split from SoCal natives Lightning Swords of Death and Valdur is finally available at mom 'n pop metal shops. Praise the dark lord for convincing guitarist/producer Roskva to blast through the layer of earth's crust that smothered LSoD's debut The Golden Plague. The spelunking expedition unearths four tracks of infernal black metal with buckets of personality to complement the spiked gauntlets. Drummer Thrudvang's blasts feel organic, the song structures ever-mobile. 'Tis a rare black metal band indeed that that can weigh down a speedy track like "Invoke the Desolate One" with the same molten heaviness as the doomy "Venter of the Black Beast." These guys are awesome live, too. Bassist Menno (also in The Cauterized) and stick-thin vocalist Autarch are two of the most magnetic showmen that L.A. metal's got. If you're headed to the Kansas City Power Metal Fest on August 14th, don't miss 'em. They're the only black metal band on the bill. New Yorkers can check out LSoD at Curran Reynolds' hallowed Precious Metal night on August 17th.
Lightning Swords of Death - "Invoke the Desolate One"
Valdur - "Chant of Battlelust"
Valdur's approach is the polar opposite. Their tonal guitar washes and repetitive blasts bleed into one immersive current, yielding an atmospheric buzzing much like Wolves In the Throne Room and Krallice. "Raven God Amongst Us" laps and surges; "Bloodhevn/Vendetta" casts us into battle in media res. "Spears Torrent" peels back the distortion to reveal the gorgeous clean-tone melodies that Valdur's other tracks hinted they were capable of writing. Valdur offer a graceful, atmospheric take on Nordic black metal.
PS: Both Lightning Swords of Death and Valdur are contributing tracks to the forthcoming TECMO video game, Undead Knights. What a quaint idea -- a black metal soundtrack to a game that, in Autarch's words, "follows a being from hell as he destroys his enemies and turns them into undead soldier-slaves for his army?” It's only a matter of time until Guitar Hero: Gorgoroth.