Opening the split is Black Vice. This trio of songs offers a familiar approach to the “atmospheric” sound now locally indicative to bands from the United States, but there is an animalistic quality to Black Vice which is wholly endemic to them. Vocalist Daine Vineyard, also of Dead to a Dying World and Uruk, snarls, howls, and gurgles like a feral madman, breaking through the otherwise glorious walls of melodic sound and painting Black Vice’s mid-paced blast as something more inherently natural than the patchouli-rank masses otherwise associated with “nature black metal.”
Thrinodίa‘s unique, unhinged progression warranted itself a position as one of my favorite albums of last year, and Haunter certainly demonstrates their position as one of America’s most exciting new black metal acts. Though their full-length exercised balance between discomfort and release, the two songs on this split play the long game of tension. Riding out lengthy progressions of discord and anxiety, even the closest semblance of slow-paced fruition offers little respite. Even with Haunter concentrating on one half of their roaring existence, the visions of demo-era Leviathan, Arizmenda, and, yes, Opeth retain clarity.