Well the split lives up to its title with both bands infusing new
blood into some of their unreleased and classic songs remixed that definitely,
given the nature of both bands, represent their mystical and occult roots.
Ophidian Forest reminds me of a blend of early Satyricon and a VERY raw
Summoning on a superficial level. They first deliver the symphonic “Densest
Green” , an 8-minute raspy vocals and blistering echoing power chords amidst a
phantom mist. You can’t really get more old school black metal than “Densest
Green”, “Fear Bloody Wings” , and “Verschwiegenheit”…this stuff will freeze
your soul in an instant, especially the vocals on “Fear Bloody Wings” , which
almost literally feel as though they are some paranormal sermon evaporating as
spoken. There’s just this intangible texture to Ophidian Forest that is
spectral and cold, AND beyond physicality. Although Ophidian Forest only contribute three
out of thirteen songs on here, they still consume roughly 30 minutes of life as
they suck out your soul leaving the mind and body in a limbo of confusion. Very pagan and Very ethereal stuff!!!!
The majority of the nine HoD songs on this split, the first
four of which are remixed from the earlier Dis demo, represent a more heavy crunching
guitar rhythm tendency that reminds me of the raging pulses and tones of
Horna’s Sotahuuto, early to Blood Fire Death era Bathory, Dethroned
Christ, etc. That true Heavy Metal meets black metal sledgehammer riffing combination
of tinny and distorted early heavy metal rhythms with speed and thrash
afflictions creating a vortex that is as nasty and maniacal as say Blood Feast,
and even bypassing buzzing swarms of just power chords cranked up on treble for
flesh stripping leads and actual rhythm progressions that embody “Kill”.
“Black Prophecies” is a good example of that just said, as
is “Choas Plague”, which really breaks up into an avalanche of addicting
rhythms sort like Immortal’s “Cryptic Winterstorms” or “Call of the Wintermoon”
with the lead guitar portions and vocals laid out in the front of the mix
giving them an extra sonic kick and clarity that really gives it a vicious
punch. Cernunnos (HoD) has not lost his touch for atmospherics though: “Manifestation”
is a classic semi-raw melodic atmospheric storm that will invoke flashbacks of Denunciatus Cinis, but still builds on
that template; “Wolfmoon” is a brief keyboard instrumental soaked in weird
electronic analog effects like a clip to a classic made-for-tv horror film;
“Blood and Souls” is a strange analog horror ambient that sounds like an EVP
during a paranormal investigation with some weird organ in the background; and
the grand infernal ending of “Circle of Sodomy” with that Emperor meets cleaner production sound and feel, including clean
chanting vocals, that adhere the haunting elements together into a possession
of the mind as much as the condemned soul. “Circle of Sodomy” is also
re-recording of “3rd Movement: Circle” from his Overture debut, which I will have to pick up in the near future.
With this split Cernunnos intended to revisit and reinvest
life into his early work and Demo period and ,in my honest opinion, was his
best period judging from what I’ve heard of them now and in original form. HoD should also have another
full-length, Thirty-Eighth Sermon of the
Unborn, out this fall as well so grab this
one…and that one…and the Demo….AND Overture if you don’t have it either!!!!
Ophidian Forest’s essentiality is self evident, i.e. MUST HAVE.