Sunday 9 October 2016

Torrid Husk/End - Swallow Matewan


1. Torrid Husk - Mourning Cloak Spell
2. Torrid Husk - Carminite
3. Torrid Husk - Rhododendron
4. End - Virga
5. End - Existential Litany
6. End - Winter

I'm attracted to a release because of it's artwork as much as the music it contains, especially as the cover is the first thing I see. That's exactly what happened when I came across this recent split by West Virginian black/sludge band Torrid Husk and Greek black metallers End. Torrid Husk are a bit of an enigma it seems and released their first full-length in 2013, following it up with a EP and a split (featuring fellow US band Myopic) prior to this one. End started in 2002, releasing three full-lengths and a split (with local partners in crime Vacantfield and Awe). The members of Torrid Husk prefer to exist in the shadows while End features a familiar face, in Dephosphorus drummer Maelstrom. The split has been released on CD via US label Grimoire Record, who's USP comes in the form of recording all of the music they release themselves and tape via Monotonstudio Records (EU). 

Torrid Husk sits within the current crop of US black metal bands who like to push the boundaries of the genre and carve their own path. Mourning Cloak Spell starts off with the familiar blasts and shrieks, but is bolstered by ambient riffs and chants later on. TH certainly isn’t the sort of band that favours inward-looking, mournful expression. They go at it full-throttle on Carminite, which is exhilarating to say the least. Their final addition to this split, Rhododendron features warming guitar melody in it’s opening bars before TH hits full flow again. The urgency is more noticeable here and it’s unrelenting. When the quieter moments do come, like in the mid-section, they are filled with amazing guitar work that banishes any negative feeling. End promises something all the more extravagant with their 11+ minute opener Virga. I only used the term extravagant in relation to the song’s length and not to do Torrid Husk any disservice! End’s take of black metal is one of mid-paced, foreboding atmosphere and that’s exactly what you get during Virga. It’s hard to follow such an opener and End don’t try to out do themselves. Existential Litany exists as an instrumental piece to help maintain momentum before their closer Winter. Winter sees the band taking on the bleak metal of their split mates, but mixing it up slightly with subtle groove (not surprising as they feature an ex-member of Greek black metal band Dodsferd, who’re known for their grooves). You’d never think that something so catchy could close out a split like this, but it works really well. I love both bands on here. Torrid Husk’s black metal is heavy, sometimes chaotic and other times sensitive. End are kind of all over the place because they don’t stick to one formula and that variation helps them stand out. Great split all round.

You can stream the split and grab a digital copy here:-

Physical copies can be purchased via the links below:-

Grimoire Records (cd/tape - US) -
Monotonstudio Records (tape - EU) -

There is a vinyl release due via Arcane Angels (EU) and you can stay updated here -

Torrid Husk Facebook -
End Facebook -
Grimoire Records Facebook -
Monotonstudio Records Facebook -

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