Splits are odd things. Some, with their highly reactive opposite sides really deserve the ‘Vs.’ tag while others may as well be the same band on both halves. Others still might as well have been released as two EPs, so little do they connect. Finally you get the splits where the complimentary nature of the music and the connection between the bands is so fully realised that they create something singular in its own right.
And on that note we walk into the nether realm that is Triunity. Three tracks each from these French headfuck neuromancers: the ‘Legendary Unorthodox Black Metal ‘ of duo Blut Aus Nord who I kind of lost track of over the last two albums and the ‘mechanical dark mass’ of one man project P.H.O.B.O.S. with whom I have only the most passing of acquaintances. Together this doesn’t so much drag you back to the fold as lock an event horizon pull onto you.
The tracks are organised as three from Blut Aus Nord and then three from P.H.O.B.O.S. but in these days of tech it is so easy to arrange them as you want. As well as listening in that order as an experiment I alternated the tracks as my mobile player seemed to wish to do and I have to say I hope the band’s would approve as that was a sublime experience and is how I am reviewing it. But make not mistake, listening to the BAN and then the P.H.O.B.O.S. as a classic one band, flip over to side two, the other band split is just as good.
We open with BAN and ‘De Librio Arbitrio’. Immediately identifiable by that harsh, teetering on the edge but never quite becoming industrial sound it crashes into our world with no mercy: Weird chords, dream/bad trip keyboard/choir voices and the harsh whispered lead vocals. It has that classic tug-you-under flow to it, a dizzying swirl which breaks out into melody here and there. I then get P.H.O.B.O.S ‘Glowing Phosphorescence’, a deeply unsettling twist of fluttering beeps and notes with deeper vocals that bring space a little closer, the soundtrack to Event Horizon seeping into Prometheus, perhaps. Drum machine heartbeats like darkest EBM and stray discordant lines of melody flitting in and out. By now you’re in a dark and dislocated crawlspace, somewhere between worlds and nowhere anyone but a fan of this music would ever want to be. ‘Hubris’ brings us into a chanted place, almost a cathedral with an arching spire of guitar work gansed into by a darker chugging riff to undermine the vanity. ‘Transfixed At Glogotha’ brings a throbbing rumble of some huge engines, the black, ichor slick walls pulsing with it and the voices of the lost whispering. This segues unsettling well into BAN and ‘Nehmeinn’ which combines those melancholic melodies of BAN into a slow, coiling song. Perhaps the most traditional song here, but that is, you understand, merely in comparison as the layered vocals babble against themselves and the guitars keen and moan in the pit and allow ribbons of a North African/Middle Eastern melody being a little twisting, insane dance as you stumble along a dark, biomechanic corridor. Closing with P.H.O.B.O.S., their song ‘ Ahrmanic Impulse Victory’ is like stumbling from the previous song into a ritual buried deep in the bowels of some vast machine. Rhythmic drumming, snarled and garbled vocals wrapped in an eerie Fields Of The Nephilim-esque guitar sound and whorls of middle-eastern melody spinning slowly at its heart. Totally mesmeric.
The fact that this works so well as two bands with a side each, and as an album interwoven with the music by both, to me proves just how close a meeting of minds this truly is. The music is different, the approach parallel but the intent somehow meshes in a truly pitch-black-crawlspace-between-realities-manner. This is one for all of you looking for the darkness where the membrane has been rubbed so bare that things seep through, where the scientific meet the unreal and the horrific.
Wrong. And magnificent. It doesn’t get much better.
- Gizmo, june 2014 (9,5/10)