Black Altar and Vulture Lord come together to deliver a blistering split EP that will not disappoint long time fans of either band. Deathiah Manifesto is the blending of two sides of the same blade. Each will cut you, but each has its own distinctive characteristics. These eight tracks present themselves as the essence of Black Metal, showing us where it’s been, where it is, and where it could go.
The split starts out with Black Altar. With a cold and driving sound that pummels the listener right off the bat, Black Altar encompasses a very traditional sound that will delight any long time fan of the genre. Guitars create an absolutely enormous wall of sound while the steady march of the drums drives these tracks forward. I would like to highlight the production on this half of the split, as the natural bass guitar tones shine through beautifully, ringing perfectly in the mix. Tracks one and four are intro and outro pieces put together by French composer Ludo “Evil” Lejeune. While these pieces are absolutely gorgeous in their haunting tones, and they do set the stage well, I could have done without them for this particular release. Their inclusion makes Black Altar’s portion seem much too short, paying a huge disservice to the EP as a whole.
Vulture Lord comes next with a sound with a bit more groove to it. While maintaining the Black Metal roots of their Norwegian heritage, Vulture Lord comes across less bleak, but equally evil. The songs make you want to move with some tracks acting as straight up mosh fodder. These last four tracks are honestly just a whole lot of fun to listen to, with attention grabbing riffs and galloping drums, you just might find yourself headbanging to these songs on repeat.
Black Metal can and has been many things over the years. Despite what the staunch purists may tell you, there is no particularly wrong way to do it. Whether Black Altar’s bleak assault of noise is more your taste, or Vulture Lord’s first wave inspired grooves, Deathiah Manifesto proves an enjoyable listen.
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