|Review: The Frost/Black Fire - Between Ice and Fire / Illucescit Mortis Jesu|
|Between Ice and Fire / Illucescit Mortis Jesu|
Label: Nerbilous Productions
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 27, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
for:Between Ice and Fire / Illucescit Mortis Jesu
After the uninspiring dross that was The Frost's Damned and Forgotten I was not expecting very much from this split. There is one thing that I enjoy a lot and that is being pleasantly surprised and Between Ice and Fire is pleasantly surprising, being a huge step forward from their earlier material. The production is much improved and in fact may be called very good; each instrument is very clearly audible with a nice clean bass tone (the bass is doing some really interesting stuff on this disc), a heavy enough guitar tone (although it is perhaps pushed a bit too far back in the mix), and well produced drums. Gone is the third rate Darkthrone worship of their earlier material with the songwriting here being much better and far more interesting offering flowing melodic tremolos that border on leads, the title track especially offering some great stuff. Melodic tremolo riffing is the order of the day and it is quite convincing, being varied with some good thrashy riffs thrown in for good measure. Gorgor's vocals are the same croaked Abbath-cum-Satyr style and they are a bit weak but get the job done I guess. Overall this is a very entertaining half a CD, with some cool old school Black Metal hate and a big improvement an all counts for The Frost. I will look forward to what Gorgor has in store for us with the next full length. 3.5/5
Next we have Black Fire, a three piece outfit hailing from Columbia and they were very busy in 2008 releasing a DVD, a full-length and this split. Illucescit Mortis Jesu is the title of Black Fire's half of this disc and it follows directly in the footsteps of the second wave bands but with much smaller feet. There is a pretty big To Mega Therion-era Celtic Frost influence (especially in "Nocturnal Lust" which has a riff lifted directly from "Jewel Throne"), and when the band is walking this line the music is much more convincing though fairly derivative. They do try to speed things up with some Satyricon/Emperor style tremoloing but this fails rather dramatically, feeling awkward and a bit out of time as though it is stretching the band beyond its abilities. The production is reasonable with a nice dirty guitar tone that is not too thin while still retaining a sharp edge. The drums sound programmed with a really mechanical tone and unadventurous style, though they are credited to Baal. There is nothing special going on here, it is just largely rather second rate Black Metal, and while it's not bad it has little to draw you back for repeat listens. Black Fire have only been around three years and have some potential, so once they find their own voice they may end up being a band to look out for. 2.25/5
For fans of underground Black Metal this split is worth checking out based mostly on the material from The Frost. The Black Fire half isn't terrible but you will be hitting the stop button more often than not once Between Ice and Fire finishes up. The overall score is 3.5 for The Frost's half as this would stand alone as an EP.
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