Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moonblood / Asakku split (1998)

Released by Sombre Records in March 1998, the Moonblood / Asakku split offers up a couple decent quality songs of raw German Black Metal. This 7" E.P. was limited to 500 copies, so it is not the easiest to come by. The material on hand is well worth hearing, upholding the traditions of the sub-genre quite well, though it cannot be said that these recordings are earth-shattering, by any means.

The Moonblood track, "Hordes of Hate", was recorded in September 1995. This would have, easily, fit onto the band's first full-length album, Blut und Krieg. In some way, the arrangement is even reminiscent of "I Am All". It starts with an epic intro, before unleashing a blistering assault of frozen tremolo riffs that freeze your flesh and leave you unable to move. The pummeling drums then come along to lay waste to that which is left, as the demonic howls summon the forces of evil to consume your miserable spirit. The guitar melodies are straightforward, yet memorable. The bass lines, more or less, follow along with the main riffs, rarely straying. The production is about the same as what can be heard on most of Moonblood's studio recordings. It is odd that this song was left off of their debut L.P.

Asakku does their best to match the quality of their peers with "Endless Woods", recorded in May 1996. The song starts out with an acoustic guitar, before transitioning to a galloping riff in the vein of Bathory. They utilize a variety of tempos, still managing to maintain a consistent atmosphere throughout. The faster parts employ tremolo riffs that are not all that dissimilar from Moonblood. The production is a bit annoying, as the bass and drums are a little too loud in the mix, with the former possessing sort of a clicking sound that is a little distracting. All in all, Asakku showed promise and would have been a worthy part of the German underground, had they survived.

Quite often, the idea behind split releases is to pair a newer band with one that is more established, to help expose them to a larger fanbase. Such was the case with this 7", yet it seems to have been somewhat of a failure. Asakku was already dead by the time this release came about and this did nothing to revive the band. As for Moonblood, this was nothing more than another opportunity to share one of the countless songs that they were sitting on. It may sound average compared to some of their tracks, but that is only a result of the consistent quality that they were known for. Pick this up, if possible.