PICK OF THE WEEK: Ominous split teaming Palace of Worms with Ecferus reveals chaos, horror

pow-ecferus-coverEh, it’s the end of a bad week and I want to spit, so we might as well try to go out on a high note on this site at least. Hey, sorry about America, everyone. What a fucking dumpster fire. Anyway, that said, we have a really strong split release today from two great one-man bands that, combined, have an effort for you that will stoke any fires of frustration you’re feeling inside.

Coming to you via Crown & Throne Ltd. is a six-track split effort combining black metal project Palace of Worms and like-minded Ecferus, who both have put out some of the more interesting releases the sub-genre has seen the past decade. We’ve covered Palace of Worms quite a bit on these pages, and Ecferus is new to this site, but they’re definitely going to be a band we keep in our rotation moving forward based on this split and digging into their back catalog.

Balan

Balan

We last visited with the Balan-led Palace of Worms last year with excellent “The Ladder,” the third full-length in this project’s existence. As noted, we’re used to getting intelligent blasts of black metal from PoW, combined with classical elements, but the three tracks we meet on this split go in an entirely different direction. Paying homage to guttural old-school death metal, these three tracks take you on a neck-jerk jolt into territory we’re not used to Balan exploring. This material provides a violent bludgeoning that explores more horrific and otherworldly phenomenon, and as the songs go by, the heaviness and explosive fury keeps capitalizing. It’s a really refreshing dose of metallic mangling that many devoted listeners will not see coming.

PoW’s section starts off with “The Lost,” and right away you can hear the difference in tone with these songs, and things immediately go guttural. The pace is ugly and trudging, and though he’s taking a different corner here, Balan’s vocals remain steadfastly recognizable. The growls mow through you, while the smothering fury builds suffocating smoke and tears toward “Wendigo Sickness.” There, horrifying screams break out before a burly assault is launched. Vicious growls and a charred death offensive is launched, while the guitars boil over and produce immense heat, and the track comes to a piercing and abrupt end. “Rot From the Stars” begins with a reading from Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space,” which leads to slow-sludging crushing and wild yowls behind the growls. The track bleeds ominously, sending horrific chills, while Balan’s wails of, “Pray for deliverance!” mix with more Lovecraftian terrors, churning melodies, and a final reading before the song expires.

Alp

Alp

Ecferus is the brainchild of Indiana-based musician Alp, who is known for his experimental touch and steady commitment to putting out material on a prolific basis. The project’s exact birth isn’t easy to nail down, but Ecferus’ first full-length “Prehistory” landed in 2015, and he followed that up with “Pangaea” (out on I, Voidhanger) last year. Stuffed around that are a few EPs, as well as other splits with bands including Sea Witch and Jute Gyte, making him one of the busier musicians we’ve encountered lately. Here, Alp expands his vision, one that mixes really well with what PoW bring to the table, and if this is an introduction to any listeners out there, expect to find an artist who is bending and shifting black metal to fit his agenda.

The Ecferus portion starts with “Unveiled With Spears,” where Alp wastes no time showing you his uglier, more bizarre side to his music. The vocals are practically demonic, while the pace is blinding and unforgiving, unleashing unspeakable savagery. The guitars twist and contort, while the song comes to a mesmerizing end. “Transmigratory Astral Chatterings” starts with a clip from the 1993 film “Naked” before chant singing enters the mix and creates a hypnotic void. The song eventually opens up and spills blood, pushing its frenetic tempo and terrifying shrieks. Closer “Ritual Calamity” has guitars moaning all over the cosmos, making your head swim before the hammer is dropped. A ferocious assault is mounted, with chaos being poured in abundance, and then the song enters warp zone speeds. The final moments of the track have a tornadic feel, with the final sounds bleeding out into corrosion.

Palace of Worms and Ecferus are an ideally matched duo who wreak havoc on this release, and this split is an excellent way to end the week and let your blood reduce its boil. These two bands will counter any fury and frustration you feel while they help you dissolve into their chaos and see other hellish visions. It’s OK to step back from reality for a while and get swallowed whole by something that can bash you and crush you in a way that won’t permanently damage your mental health.

For more on Palace of Worms, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tattooedinworms/

For more on Ecferus, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ecferus/

To buy the album, go here: http://crownandthroneltd.bigcartel.com/product/palace-of-worms-ecferus-split-12

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/crownandthroneltd/