Finally got around to picking up a bunch of Horseback's older releases on Turgid Animal for the shop, including this split with Voltigeurs. Both bands create a kind of black, noise-drenched psychedelia and so compliment each other nicely on this 10", though each has a distinctly different approach to their sound.
Horseback is up first, with two songs on their side. The first is "High Ashen Slab", a killer dose of blackened prog with Hammond organs circling around a heavy hypnotic riff, which has a heavy psychedelic feel, with soaring effects-laden and vaguely bluesy guitars rising off the spidery riffing. It's almost Circle-esque, but the snarling animal shrieks are clearly informed by black metal. This trance-inducing slab of blackened psych locks into a massive droning groove at the end, but when the drums fall away, the Hammond organ remains with it's warbling melody circling around a distant fuzzed out black metal-style riff and distorted vokills, everything blanketed in fuzz. The other song "Another World" is just as cool, and reminds me of Prurient's newer stuff with it's various layers of distorted melodic synth and guitar playing over a buried murky blast beat-like rhythm, a rapid fire pulse beneath the swirling fuzzy chordal shimmer, blackened shrieks ripping through the psychedelic haze, resembling the sound of some melodic black metal filtered through the gauzy distortion of Tim Hecker.
It's no surprise that Voltigeurs brings a more brutal sonic attack on the other side, this being the black psychnoise side project from Matthew Bower of Skullflower/Sunroof. It's one massive side-long epic titled "Dew Blest Adawning", a mass of monolithic black noise ecstacy that will be familiar to fans of this band's other releases. On the surface, it's a cacophony of distorted drones and blackened screaming vokills, wave after wave of dense, suffocating noise, but underneath it you hear some truly magnificent melodies, melodic guitars amassed in a howling symphony at the heart of this churning black maelstrom. This melodic blur is obscured by layers of scorching feedback and amp noise, squalls of deafening Merzbowian roar building into orchestral blacknoise with what sound like violins joining the endless blackened tremolo riffs piled up to the heavens.