Nortt/Xasthur Nedengang/A Curse For The Lifeless

Recently licensed from a small European label by Southern Lord, this split release sees two of the genre’s finest deliver some of the most paralysing blackened funeral doom ever laid to tape. Nortt, although doubtlessly the lesser known of the two, opens the disc with the stronger offering — a dense, intimidating blend of minimal keyboards, distant, tortured vocals, and quite possibly the most convincingly literal "funeral” feel since Thergothon. Xasthur’s contribution is almost entirely instrumental, and while an improvement over last year’s disappointing Telepathic With The Deceased, is undeniably lacking — especially in light of the first half of the split. That being said, this is Xasthur — the one-man band’s black metal/funeral doom crossover is invariably depressing, drenched in ambience, and never a complete let down. A word must be said about the artwork as well — cloudy, beautifully rendered paintings balanced with stunning nature photography is rarely assembled as compellingly as this. Powerful stuff. (Southern Lord)