Here we have a split from two black/death acts, one based in Italy with the other based in Finland. We're first going to focus on Italy's Demonomancy which comes across with a powerfully warm and quite abrasive sound. The frontman's vocals don't feel too tacky either, this is an act that really seems to embody that whole spirit of death and black metal, albeit I'll say that there are more doom elements here than I've heard in lieu of black metal, making the classification a bit off. There's also a sort of classic Slayer styled solo bit on the disc, which lends even less to the kind of approach you might expect. That being said, it creates an atmosphere that I think is far more foreboding than what one might expect to be a lot of black metal blasts and tremolo-riffs holding hands with death metal in the same way that we've all heard a dozen times to say. That's not to say that it isn't that, sometimes – but it tries very hard not to be. These guys would rather groove than blast, which sets up a much different and more entertaining tempo than what I expected. That being said, I recommend the nearly nine minute title cut to “Underground Church” because the latter is just pretty much what I expected. Nothing wrong with that, but these guys have already shown me that they can do so much more than just regular old black/death.
As for the other guys, we have Finland's Witchcraft. No, not the “Witchcraft” (and seriously, bands should stop using the names of other acts that have already been signed, popularized and licensed because it is confusing as hell) you were thinking of, but a good Witchcraft nonetheless. Originally they were called Blasphemous Witchcraft, so I hope that maybe they'll decide to be that once again. Especially since they're quite good. The very intro to the piece (the title cut) actually felt like another kind of music entirely, something like mist mixed in with diabolatry as the infernal roars of the underworld erupted in much the same way they do when “Grave Immolation” soon adds instruments into the mix. The sound is awfully raw and tough to hear, but Black Moon Necromancer (of some stuff) has got an incredible vocal approach that features such a deep set of chords that I feel as if I'm not even listening to a man anymore. It's comparable to brutal death metal and works much better on the doom-influenced “Perverted Temple Of Goatsodomy” (seriously, you're playing doom riffs and calling yourself Witchcraft? Can't they sue for that?) then it does on the former, even though it still shows me a band that hasn't yet found their style, their footing and their name. Maybe after this split release they'll decide to hone in all of those things.
Both acts seem to do a pretty solid job, but because Demonomancy seem to have their shit together a little bit better, (even though I love those little keyboard atmospheres that (Blasphemous) Witchcraft perform at the beginning and end of their side of the split) I'm going to have to go with them. I feel that fans of a black and death style that don't mind more of a doom approach to the genre will find something more than those looking for just black/death. Worth giving a listen, there's some definite promise to be found here.
(5 Tracks 27:00)