Ysengrin / Black Grail Nigrum Nigrius Nigro Split LP

Ysengrin / Black Grail Nigrum Nigrius Nigro Split LP
6
Clocking in at a little under 30 minutes, the collaborative effort between the French experimental black and doom metal outfit and Chilean black metal occultists occupies a kind of liminal space between EP and LP. The first four tracks are Ysengrin's territory, swirling and ritualistic numbers that curl back on themselves, smothering one moment and then dissipating into nothingness moments later. Characterized by a pulsing urgency and esoteric wildness, these tracks are anchored by the raw and unhinged but surprisingly melodic vocals, which are especially compelling in the tracks "In Saturnine Negredine" (parts one and two).
 
There's no attempt to integrate Ysengrin's efforts into those of Black Grail; the latter's single, fifteen-minute track is somehow more bitter and acrid, a swirling maelstrom of negativity. Overall, though, the record suffers a bit from not having enough contrast between these halves. The production on the second half has a rawer edge, and while the menacing occult throb of Ysengrin is twisted into something much more sharp and acidic by Black Grain, there isn't enough contrast in the texture of the music. It's like conjuring two demons who accidentally wore the same outfit to the possession. (Nuclear War Now!)