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Lightning Swords of Death / Valdur : Split

USBM outfit Lightning Swords of Death have been slowly perfecting and refining their chaotic approach to occult based music since their inception in 2003. After toiling around in the underground their 2007 debut The Golden Plague brought them to national prominence and found them sharing stages with bands like Nachtmystium and Danzig. Based on the strength of this album the band ended up inking a deal with Metal Blade Records earlier this summer, so it won't be long before their latest strike, this time for a major label, is upon us. Until then this potent split release with fellow Californians Valdur should tide fans of both bands over until their next full length offerings.

One thing that's readily apparent after making your way through this lethal eight song disc is the level of synergy that exists between both of these acts. While LSOD might be the ones garnering most of the attention, Valdur is definitely also a force to be reckoned with as well. LSOD's punishing and fairly straight forward attack on "Invoke The Desolate One" and "Damnation Pentastrike" puts them right in the same league with Sweden's Watain. Only their final contribution which comes in the form of the thirteen minute epic "Paths To Chaos" finds them deviating a little bit as they shift back and forth between moments of all out chaos, complete with searing guitars, relentless blastbeats, and sections of ambient blackness.

Valdur's modus operandi doesn't differ that much from LSOD's which probably helps explain the synergies, although Valdur's sound generally has more of murky undercurrent permeating through their four tracks. Equally as brutal are "Raven God Among Us" and "Chant Of Bloodlust" but their colder approach overall is probably best explained by the conspicuous absence of any lower frequencies (certainly not uncommon in black metal, although they do have a bass player) and more of a reliance on higher treble guitar tones to achieve their icy atmospherics. Their final track "Spears Torrent" which is probably their strongest offering here, shares that permeating feeling of cold desolation so prominent in the music of fellow USBM acts like Xasthur and Leviathan.

This split unites two of today's most talented acts in the USBM underground and just goes to prove how extremely vital the scene still is. It may take a bit of work on your part to locate this one but if you want a glimpse into what the future has in store for black metal in this country then this should be considered mandatory listening.

Track Listing
1) Invoke The Desolate One - LSOD
2) Damnation Pentastrike - LSOD
3) Venter of The Black Beast - LSOD
4) Paths To Chaos - LSOD
5) Raven God Amongst Us - Valdur
6) Chant of Battlelust - Valdur
7) Blodhevn / Vendetta - Valdur
8) Spears Torrent - Valdur

Added: September 29th 2009
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Bloody Mountain Records MySpace Page
Hits: 2118
Language: english

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