Saturday, December 28, 2013

Botulistum / Göll - Botulistum / Göll Split

Deep down in the underbelly of all that is harsh and loud lives stuff like Botulistum and Göll, projects which would get about as much attention as a fallen apple in an orchard outside their own respective scenes without heavy help from lurkers like myself and labels like Dying Sun Records. Both bands hail from the Netherlands, with Göll arising from the muck more recently. Bostulistum seems a bit more stable to me, having released material roughly every couple years since 1998 and their brand of swampy, gurgling static black noise is a welcome change to the overabundance of try-to-hard-to-be harsh bands that come and go. Of interest is that guitarist and drummer N, resides in Urfaust as VRDRBR. Göll, on the other hand has pulled Arco from Ordo Draconis and Weltbrand. There is some talent on the release and it shows in the soundscapes present. There isn't a huge variation between the two bands, so the split is consistent in both style and quality from both bands. Subtle differences such as the much higher vocals and a little more structure on the Göll side are the only real marks of different bands being present.

When it comes to the Botulistum pairing, the tracks are a bit muddier, a bit more lo-fi and degrading and there's a greater sense of something more than simple bursts of blackened metal. The gnarly drum rhythms and blatant disregard for anything remotely common is a welcome relief from oft-found norms in the black metal realm. While indications online are that this is simply black metal, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that anyone that would classify either act as nothing more than black metal hasn't listened to what's in the sewer. There are several stenches emanating from the vibrations here and while black metal is one of them, it's not the only one. The drumming is far closer to something from the brutal death metal arena and the segmentation of riffs and phrases is closer to power violence. Hell, it's not difficult to also hear influences from the electronic genre and satellite influences such as Laibach seem present. Opening track "De Geplande Miskraam" is a convoluted twisted form which never really starts or stops. This is further refined in "Door De Dood Bepoteld," a seventeen minute jumble of noise, harsh vocals, super fast and super slow drum beats and fuzzed out guitars which would make the offspring of Electric Wizard and Mortician wish for a towel and eye drops. There's really no song present in either track. It's just endless samples and blasts. It's also really fun to listen to. High pitched wails and grumbled sawthroat vocals offer endless variety, in an endless stream for endless amounts of gut wrenching pain.

The Göll side, tamer in many ways from the Botulistum duet, is much more obviously black metal in it's music. There is less stop and start and actual songs are present. There is an actual aim to create a loving environment for composition to be nourished and spawned amidst all the brashness and noise. Bursts of melody and arrangement variation occur by way of holes in the noise, keyholes where the listener can view the bass and momentary splashes of keyboard hors d'oeuvres. The Göll tracks appear far less maniacal than the Botulistum tracks, especially the last few from the band, with "The Guiding of Black Essence" flexing copious amounts of relaxing ambiance before final track "Last Eaon Incantation" runs wild. The inclusion of subtle keys, synths and empty melody lingering distantly in the Göll tracks tempers the harshness a bit and draws some of the abrasiveness away from the tracks. This, along with the structure differences between the two bands present offer the contrasts. In many way, it is a well executed component of separating the two projects while retaining consistency and flow for the split. It can, however, to less critical ears also not provide enough difference to define either band as they both wage war with the listeners ears for memorability, interest and attention.

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