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The Tenebrous Journey (split with Bladesmith)

Split albums can be great fun, at the very least for the obvious reason of checking out multiple bands in one go. The Tenebrous Journey presents two bands that will be new to the vast majority of people - Bladesmith, for whom this could be considered the first ´proper´ release after a generally well-received demo; and Ohvrikivi, freshly arrived in England with an EP already under it´s belt.

Given Bladesmith´s release schedule, it seems that Erik Wray has composed the band´s songs all together in a short space of time. I could well be wrong, so don´t quote me on that, but the similarity of the sound of the songs on here to those on the Darkness Remains Unsent demo is quite striking. Mid-paced, blastbeatless Black Metal with retching vocals and occasional synth use is the continuity here. There has been some subtle progression, however. The songs have been stretched to seven/eight minutes in length, and the focus of the riffs leans more towards power chords than on the demo. The riffs are again simple, but seem more effective this time around - coupled with the controlled yet blistering drums, they could make for some good headbanging after a few pints. The occasional ´lead´ breaks out in the songs - not actual guitar solos or licks, but a guitar will break out and play single note strumming passages, and this seems to have replaced the tremelo riffing from the demo. Those of us who have heard the demo will easily recognise this as Bladesmith, but the subtle maturation of ideas is good to hear, and makes this release a better starting point for new listeners.
I have no previous reference point for Ohvrikivi, and do wonder if it would help if I did. These three songs are much simpler and more stripped back affairs than Bladesmith´s. Utilising just drums and guitar, with riffs even simpler than Bladesmith´s played for the most part in standard 4/4, eighth note strumming. The drum rhythms are very standard, save for the odd fill. The songs have a very RAC feel to me (that´s Rock Against Communism in case you didn´t know), even down to the harsh, militaristic vocals; though I think the sheer simplicity would be the only thing to offend people. The first two Ohvrikivi songs are, sadly, pretty unrewarding. Things are salvaged at the end of the album by Through The Forest, where the speed is upped and the bare bones approach begins to work with changes in pace. If the previous two songs had only been played fast, things might have gotten tedious by now, but this is the kind of thing that could work to the band´s favour.

With the tracklist alternating between bands, the songs flow together pretty well. The album shows Bladesmith beginning to blossom with it´s own recognisible sound, and I hope the band continues to grow. I can accept Ohvrikivi as a band that forsakes technicality, but I hope this band´s future output develops as well if it´s going to hold my interest.


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