|Band:||Sauroctonos / White Ward / Silence Of The Old Man|
|Country:||Ukraine / Ukraine / Chile|
There are many different reasons why a split album can come into existence, it might happen because of a conceptual continuity between two or more projects, or because of a label's attempt at putting some new names out, or again because the bands want to work on something that wouldn't fit in a full-length release, and so on.
I would say that this work belongs to the second category, as Pest Productions put some of their new sign-ups together, with a vague "progressive/post black metal" connection. The three bands in fact have similar approaches to music, and the final result is quite positive in terms of overall consistency. Most of the material presented here was already part of previous digital releases, and the front cover basically features the three separate artworks framed inside inverted crosses. Nevertheless, this is the first time we can listen to these tracks in a physical format, thanks to the common decision taken by the three bands involved and Pest Productions.
The Ukrainian act Sauroctonos opens with "Nell", already released in 2013 and here presented as a solid first track. Nikolay's guitars pave the way to something that in musical terms reminded me of bands as different as Katatonia and Klimt 1918. However, all the vocals are sung in scream and feature the narrator being confronted with God and the gaping void that was its face. The whole concept of this song revolves around nothingness and the blank canvas of existence, that the narrator still prefers to leave as it is.
Also from Ukraine, White Ward seems to be soothing us with a quiet rhythm at the beginning of "When Gift Becomes Damnation", before abruptly switching to black metal. The lyrics — inspired by the British writer Iain Banks dead in 2013 — are written in a vaguely uncertain English and are focused on the curse of the narrator, doomed to age without dying; the themes of madness and dissatisfaction are present in both tracks. "Inhale My Despair" gives way to a bass-led rockish rhythm, White Ward's style reminds me at times of some passages by Sólstafir. All vocals are sung in scream on these two songs as well.
The third part of this compilation is somewhat different: first of all we move to Chile, and Silence Of The Old Man is a band a bit more mature, already with an album released in 2011 ("Carencia De Ausencia", also published by Pest Productions). In addition, their works presented here are the previously unreleased track "Camino" and a new acoustic version of "Tiempo De Miseria", a song off their debut. The Chilean project preferred to write the lyrics in their native language, focusing on the misery that is time. The last episode of this split explores totally different areas from the others, and works well as a closure.
In conclusion, although at a first glance the connection might feel a bit lost in between the two Ukrainian projects and the one from Chile, the general atmosphere of this record is still pretty consistent. The packaging is just sufficient, nothing particularly original to be seen (most of it comes from the artwork of the digital versions of these releases). Give it a try if you are into this kind of music.