Vassafor/Sinistrous Diabolus – Split (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Thursday, 22nd May 2014
Rating: 8/10

The newest split from the folks at Iron Bonehead is that of New Zealand’s Vassafor and Sinistrous Diabolus.  Splits often seem to benefit most when the two bands share some common threads, and these two compliment each other nicely in regards to their atmosphere and bouts of aggression, in addition to their shared homeland.  Neither side of this split is a casual listen, and to get the most out of them, a bit of letting go and letting the music do the talking will be necessary.

Vassafor contribute one new track to the split, alongside a cover of Varathron’s “Son of the Moon.”  “Ossuary in Darkness” lurches in with some malevolent funeral dirges that counteract the occasional tremolo picked, primeval blasts of black metal that ebb and flow throughout the 15-minute time span of the track.  The doom-laden riffs are absolutely crushing in their weight (as they should be), but the occasional melodic riff that meanders through is the icing to the cake.  The Varathron cover is a bit more ‘user-friendly’ than the two tracks that surround it, with a relatively high ratio of catchy riffing to latch onto.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

The Sinistrous Diabolus side contains but one track.  However, that track is almost 22-minutes in length.  Don’t expect to go anywhere in a rush, given the time-frame but at least the thought-process for this behemoth track is of the calculating and hypnotic.  As the track slowly progresses, it’s the creepy atmosphere in the background that provides the necessary tension and grip to ensnare the listener with a notable lack of distinctive riffs.  But when bursts of fury and darkness come forth, expect some monolithic black/death of the sepulchral variety.   But these jettison not soon after arriving, and the final half of the song alternates building tension to the brim and then unloading it with some faster material.  The result is impressive, especially considering the room for faults that could occur with the extended run-time.

Overall, Sinistrous Diabolus slightly edges out their Kiwi brethren but both sides of this split are worthy of your attention.  By the end, this will make you hunger for some more material from each band.  Isn’t that what a split is all about to begin with?

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