Taphos Nomos & Urðun – R.I.P.

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/Label: Blood Harvest Records
Distributor/Label URL: http://www.bloodharvest.se/
Released: 2017
Buy Album: https://caligarirecords.bandcamp.com/album/rip
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/taphosnomos/ and https://www.facebook.com/urdun/

BAND LINE-UP:

Taphos Nomos:
Torrential Abyss – Guitar,
Tectonic Mastication – Bass & Vocals,
Arthur Rainnbridge – Drums,
Sylvan Spectre – Synths & Vocals,
Mountain Of Doom – Vocals.

Urðun:
Putrifier – Bass,
Yakuza Dethfukkk – Guitar,
Þorvaldur Guðni “Skaðvaldur” Sævarsson – Guitar,
Bjarni “Coffin Crusher” Einarsson – Drums.

TRACK LISTING:

Taphos Nomos:
1. Arboreal Entombment
2. Autocannibalism Beneath The Avalanche
3. Lightning Stroke Obliteration (Bolt Catcher)

Urðun:
4. Tortured To The Grave
5. Immense Rot
6. Wrath Of The Zombies
7. Grafir & Bein
8. Charred Remains (Autopsy Cover)

REVIEW

Split albums offer up a number of things for all parties concerned, but nothing more important than an ample platform for bands to showcase their wares with a chum or two. They get to share a fanbase with their fellow split, whilst in turn, revelling in the increased exposure their friends will offer – win-win all round, right? It’s certainly been used to great effect down the years, with likes of HEAVEN SHALL BURN and CALIBAN sharing disc space, so how do TAPHOS NOMOS and URĐAN make it work?

US death metallers TAPHOS NOMOS peddle a slightly crusty, rough-and-ready brand of death metal that harks back to the genre’s formative years, somewhat. Tremolo guitars with chunky riffs and double-bass drumming aplenty is the core concept which provides a suitable amount of heft to cleave a skull or two, but it’s the atmosphere that’s most noticeable.

Where many a death metal band would rely solely on speed and bludgeoning to eviscerate the listener, TAPHOS NOMOS go for a creeping dark atmosphere; a malevolence that’s as present as the air around you: it’s there, but you just can’t see it. “Arboreal Entombment” roils with a putrid menace that sets the stall out nice and early, whilst the haunting use of acoustic guitar (despite the static-y recording) to breathe life into “Lightning Stroke Obliteration” seems inspired. The chunky riffage also makes for a welcome reprieve from the vast number of “tech” band’s – finally, something to headbang to!

Yet of these three tracks, TAPHOS NOMOS never seem to venture beyond third gear. There’s double-bass all over the shop, but only by way of taking things into double-time. The guitars, whether they be tremolo or riff, remain at the same plodding tempo – it feels almost like a letdown. It’s a shame as it fails to augment the band’s penchant for a doom section – use the doom as a gut punch before hitting an uppercut of speedy death metal for maximum impact.

Following their American brethren is Icelandic upstarts URĐUN, and, on first listen, it’s easy to see why these two have been placed together. It’s another slab of doom-infected death metal that’s a little rough-hewn, but no less nasty. Right from the off, “Tortured To The Grave” blisters and wails in insurmountable agony, with the subsequent four tracks taking a similar route. Blistering riffs, fetid vocals and precise drumming – even the band’s cover of ABORTED’s “Charred Remains” takes on a life of its own (or should that be death?) with their own crusty take.

It’s that crust which presents a small issue that is most notable when segueing from TAPHOS NOMOS’ stint to URĐUN’s – the drop in production. Where the American’s trio of terror sounds like a full, lumbering giant aiming to take a swipe, URĐUN’s turn sounds far weaker. The mix is fine, but it’s like it escaped the mastering suite and a lack of volume immediately takes away the eventual impact a track will have. The suggestion might be to simply turn it up, and that’s all very well and good, but there’s an expected production level for death metal and this misses it out.

If despicable death metal with a rotting sound is what keeps your jingle bells jingling this winter, then the “R.I.P.” split from TAPHOS NOMOS and URĐAN will serve as a dependable appetiser. It suffers at times from feeling a little pedestrian or fluctuating production values, but the bleak aesthetic is there. Alongside that, there’s plenty of riffs and gurgling vocals to whet the appetite, whilst that purveying a sense of impending darkness will ensure you’re sleeping with your nightlight on for a few weeks.

REVIEW BY LEE CARTER
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