It’s not often a split attracts my attention. However, Deathiah Manifesto, between Polish Black Metallers Black Altar and Norwegian Black/Thrash legends Vulture Lord, is a particularly enticing and well-paired release.
Black Altar/ Vulture Lord split – Dethiah Manifesto (Odium Records)
Release Date: 15 February 2022
Words: Jools Green
Deathiah Manifesto delivers eight tracks, four from each band. The first four are from Black Altar, who open and close with the unnervingly atmospheric soundscapes Intro, with its haunting chants, and the equally unnervingly atmospheric Outro, with spoken and whispered elements. Both are by French musician and composer Ludo “Evil” Lejeune of Melek-Tha fame, and they frame the other two tracks perfectly.
Of those other two tracks, both driving and darkly intense, Sacrilegious Congregation has an icily scathing vocal delivery and Nyx, my favourite of the two, is hugely engaging. Nyx ebbs, midway, into a superb haunting melodic swathe, carefully wending it’s way back to the intense delivery before paring back to that haunting element again towards the close.
Shadow, covering bass and vocals, is joined by Necro from Brutal Horde, Mork’s Thomas Erikson on guitars and Bloodshot Dawn, Decapitated and Vader drummer James Stewart for these pieces.
The four Vulture Lord tracks here make a welcome follow up to their full-length Desecration Rite, released last year, which was their first in eighteen years. Opening with Dominios Of Death, a punchy Black and Thrash driver with scathing vocals and a powerfully soaring leadwork burst, it is followed by my favourite of the Vulture Lord tracks, Hark! The Hymns of War. This has an addictive gallop to the delivery. Lyrically it’s catchy as hell with slick direction switching and superbly unnerving vocal intonation.
The track Bloodstained Ritualknives is moving for a different reason. It features a superbly cavernous vocal delivery recorded quite a while ago by the late Trodr Nefas. The track is melded with superbly dark and filthy riffing and insane thrashy leadwork. Nefas, from Urgehal and many other projects and bands, passed away in 2012.
The final piece, Usurper, Thy Name is Death, is an unnerving music and soundscape. It features the Vincent Price/Prince Prospero speech from the 1964 film The Masque Of The Red Death. “Can you look around this world and believe in the goodness of a god who rules it? Famine, Pestilence, War, Disease and Death! They rule this world.” An unnervingly engaging way to end a rather good album.
The fascinatingly intricate black and white cover art is by Jenglot Hitam.
Dethiah Manifesto will be available (pre-orders are now up) as an eleven-panel digipack CD that opens into in the shape of an inverted cross as well as black vinyl or digital download from odiumrecords.bandcamp.com/album/black-altar-vulture-lord-deathiah-manifesto.
A red vinyl version will be available on 15 March 2022.