SKINLIV / VERMISST - Split - LP
Bringing together two prolific forces of raw-yet-ethereal black metal, the SKINLIV / VERMISST split album features six exclusive tracks for a total of 39 minutes. On Side A are SKINLIV, who hail from the nowadays black metal hotbed of Denmark. The band have released two full-lengths to date, among other recordings, working with the cult Nattetale label as well as the legendary Tour de Garde. Shunning the spotlight or even the rarest bit of info behind this horde doesn't lessen the power of SKINLIV's sensory-overload attack. That attack here takes the form of slo(wer)-motion blizzard - thick with dread, obscured in intention - and their wounded melodicism is malformed into mesmerizing shapes and textures that recall ancient days.
VERMISST thus far have yet to release an album, but their myriad short-length works poignantly honor Poland's proud history of black metal, particularly the pioneering days of the '90s. However, the trio's two epic tracks on Side B are no mere "throwback," as the winding, wintry screeds of otherworldly solitude they create here sound literally transported from 1994. There's something to be said for those rare entities who use rawness as another instrument, and the brittle-yet-shimmering soundfield VERMISST erect here is glacial beyond compare.
Together, both SKINLIV and VERMISST deliver a towering work unified in its psychic and sonic abilities, both bands complementing each other whilst remaining distinct. Ghostly, grim, grandiose!