When two of the finest young American heavy metal groups come together to release a split album, you know that the only thing you need to expect is sheer joy. That, and bone-crushingly weighty riffs, of course. The Virginian duo, Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs, have joined forces to unleash a split album which invites the listener to drop their jaw, while having only the flaw of ending too soon.
Windhand specialise in one of my all-time favourite genres, doom metal, playing at a pace so slow, that some continents may overtake it. Countering this, on the reverse side of the split, is Satan’s Satyrs, a group seemingly hellbent on one thing and one thing alone: bringing some truly fierce and furious metal directly in to your ears. While opposing each other in the fundamental style of their play, these bands act as the ying to each other’s yang, seeing the best being brought out in both through contrast.
Diving first into introductory band Windhand, the listener is thrust immediately into a jungle of distortion, no clear sky or melody in sight, with nothing but harsh noise vibrating off of every single note played. This is how “Old Evil” begins, a slow, methodical, and entirely sludgy affair that does not simply ask you to listen to what it has to say, but more so demands that you had better listen, lest great tragedy befalls you.
With the riffs coming at you like waves, “Old Evil” presents itself in such a way that is almost hypnotic, as if you are coming under the spell of a great devil, with the continually repeated riffs and lyrics forcing you to nod your head in a slow and brainless fashion so to match the song. ‘Windhand are pretty damn good’, is my summary of the band, and even if I weren’t under their elusive hypnotics, I would still say the same.
Moving on to the second half of Split, we have Satan’s Satyrs, an all-together different beast, yet manages to present itself as being just as heavy, and just as capable of being able to ensure that you do as they please. This time, it is not through slow persuasion and hypnotic techniques. Oh no, it is simply through sheer force.
Satan’s Satyrs are, by no means, the heaviest band around these days; it’s a much sought after title. They do not scream to you wordlessly, or attack their guitars and percussion section to make as much noise as possible. They play groovy, 1970s-style metal, grimey, and wicked, rough around the edges, but only where they want it to be. “Succubus” acts as a fine example of this, with it’s fast, high-pitched guitar solo commandeering the track mid-way through, while an unfathomably catchy bass riff grumbles beneath, carrying the track on it’s shoulders.
Split acts as an expression as to the identity of both bands involved. It shows the sheer might of both Windhand and Satan’s Satyrs, how they counter one another, their similarities, their differences, and most of all, their talent. Split has been the most rewarding listen for me personally in a long time, introducing me to not only one, but two new bands who, without mincing words, utterly crush it.
Split will be released on February 16th and is available to buy from Amazon on [amazon text=CD&asin=B077ZG44L3], [amazon text=streaming/download&asin=B077FVGLWK] and [amazon text=vinyl&asin=B0785VL9D3].