Although the last split albums I have come across have largely made me reconsider my initial opinion, which saw this format as useful for bands in their infancy and instead as a source of dispersion of energy and talent for those already established, this operation by Chaos Records, which combines two death-doom realities such as the Mexican Majestic Downfall and the Australian The Slow Death, has reopened some doubts for me. Let me preface by saying that of the two bands I only knew the first one, which in fact has always been an exclusive project of Jacobo Cordova, especially for the beautiful debut album Temple Of Guilt; on this occasion, the Mexican musician offers half an hour of excellent music, thanks to three tracks each capable of drawing on different shades of the genre, starting from the black-death doom of The Dark Lullaby, passing through the dramatic atmospheres of Renata and ending with Obsidian, which pushes on gothic doom slopes sometimes evoking the always welcome ghosts of Paradise Lost and Fields of The Nephilim. Jacobo not only proves to be an excellent guitarist, but also, nd above all, an excellent performer with his ever-expressive growl, capable of moving from the deep tones of the opener to the harsher, almost despair-filled sections of Renata. In short, with another 10-15 minutes at the height of it, a full-length would have come out, but even so, an Ep in the name of Majestic Downfall alone would have been more than enough. This is not to diminish in any way the work of the tenants of the second half of the split, the talented The Slow Death: simply, given the overall length of the three tracks that each band had available, there was every reason for two separate releases, even if it is clear that in times of lean cows for those who produce and distribute music, never before has the famous saying that union is strength. The Slow Death are an Australian band with two full-lengths under their belt, leaning towards the more introspective and sombre side of the genre, which they do very well with the splendid Criticality Incident I, a track full of mournful melodies. The problem of the New South Wales band is, in my opinion, in the vocal performance: here, the overused female-male vocals do not work as they should, mainly because the two timbres are in one case excessive (Gregg Williamson’s growl is in fact a real grunt lacking a minimum of expressiveness) and in the other unsuitable (Mandy Andresen opts for a vaguely shamanic style that shows its limits particularly in a more rarefied track like People Like You). The Slow Death demonstrate great qualities at a compositional level and their sound is anything but predictable, it is a pity that these details cloud their proposal instead of enhancing its characteristics. In any case, this is a split album to be grabbed without delay, given the quality and quantity of the material, even if at the end of the listening session you will definitely want to listen to Majestic Downfall‘s tracks again and maybe a little less to The Slow Death‘s, even though they are good.
2014 – Chaos Records 2020 – Personal Records