Sloth Herder / Horde of the Eclipse – Split CD

Let's give ourselves a splitting headache.  Are you ready to understand what it's like to have split-personality disorder?  Can we think of any other clever usages of the word 'split' that doesn't involve a direct understanding of the term in relationship to music?  No, it stops right here, right now.  Now we get to being serious.  We've reviewed tons of splits over the years, and the big issue with them is you usually have one band that kills and another band that ills, or at least one of the bands that's obviously better than the other, but they're both kind of ehhhhhhhhhh.  Thus, understand again Deaf Sparrow's stance on splits, they're dangerous to anyone involved.  If the tracks aren't evenly divided or the bands are leagues apart in terms of ability, it can go from split to shit in a flip of a 7" or one track to the next.  Delicate territory, friends, that only the skilled may tread.  Here, luckily, we were given a nice treat.  Unholy Anarchy Records just started sending us promos, and this sweet package even came with a Goddamn cup cozy for Christ's sake with Horde of the Eclipse's logo on it, as well as stickers, which we always enjoy.  But a Goddamn cup cozy says it all.  That's a new one, and thankfully it can be used because the band in question represents black metal as we like it.  Sloth Herder, yep, we know those guys, and in fact they sent us this before the label did, so now we have two copies and we'll give one away as a prize.  Hooray (see Facebook for details so you, too, can feel like a winner).

  

Sloth Herder is a confusing conglomeration of words and sounds, they always are.  But, surprisingly what sounds stupid on the surface at first is sickening within.  Does one need to herd sloths?  They barely even move.  You could put them in a corral with the gate open and they'd be in the same position two years later!  Such thoughts on their name, however, are quickly squashed once the music begins.  We went through it already, but likely this is your first experience of the sloths which are herded.  Their mantra is "abandon pop sensibility", but it goes beyond that to "abandon all life".  Their side of the split is just as grotesque as their previous work; bizarre guitar shrieks, disheveled chords that hang loose on the limbs like rotting flesh, wavering back and forth from black metal to crust, and vocals doing nearly the same while coughing up pieces of a lung.  They provide an amazing amount of atmosphere to begin their set, go into old-style hate, and then back to grindy hardcore crust.  With all of this mixing and wandering most bands would fail, but Sloth Herder does not.  That's one of the reasons we were so stoked about this split to begin with, and they certainly did not fail to please, yet again, other than the fact that they didn't include another cup cozy for our beverages.

 

Following the muddy farm of sloths, we have our spirits calmed into wasteful depression from some legit black metal from out of Pennsylvania, where there are enough mountains that such a statement doesn't sound idiotic.  This is our first exposure to these guys, but they already sweetened our lips with the sugar of a cup cozy, as well as a huge sticker, so pretty much no wrong can be done.  These guys thankfully fill out the split regardless of their gifts, making it everything but a misnomer, because they have nearly the same amount of material presented, timewise.  Their approach, however, aims for more melodic metal closer to the black variety, after opening with some emptiness and acoustics.  Looking for something to listen to while driving through the snow that isn't embarrassing?  Here it is.  Horde of the Eclipse lay out some spectacularly simple riffs with extra details to taste, nice and frozen with throaty shrieks and blasting drums.  If anything, it's only failing is that, in comparison to Sloth Herder, it doesn't have the same punch of creativity.  However, they manage to create plenty of vastness in their half of the split, more than enough to create our required balance to be split-worthy.  It's slightly weighed in favor of Sloth Herder, simply because of the bizarre nature of some of their riffs, but classic black metal of this type was a splendid addition considering.  For a split, there's definitely not one bummer here, and that is more than enough for us, and you, to consider it a success.

 

Sloth Herder Official Facebook

Horde of the Eclipse Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Sloth Herder / Horde of the Eclipse – Split CD
Unholy Anarchy Records
4.5 / 5