The word "surprise" could never been more appropriate for this release. Highly doubt you ever heard of either Selvans or Downfall of Nur, as both an Italian duo and an Argentinian one-man crew, respectively, are rather recent entries into atmospheric black metal scene.
Splits are a format often used by labels and young collectives to save a few coins, and more often than not music presented on a split from two sharing bands has little in common, except perhaps genre proximity. Not the case with Selvans and Downfall of Nur. As much as this EP is a split, it is also thought through collaboration with the bands helping each other, and two collectives definitely coordinating to come up with a cohesive flowing story.
Nature is a common theme for both Selvans and Downfall of Nur. Selvans intro starts in a steamy meadow, where air is moist and saturated and birds chirp. No percussion overture, Selvans Intro/SOL grows triumphant with woven in flute and completely prepares you for what is to come. Pater Surgens is a hymn to nature if there was one. Truly symphonic, but not in a plastic overproduced way, Pater Surgens may not even fully qualify as black metal per se, but who cares, it is so transcendent and uplifting. At times frantic tremolo and vocals are black metal elements, but rising melodies, flute solo and native string instruments allow for so much more with Pater Surgens. Tempo may ebb and flow, but feeling never seizes. Restless in spots, yet beautiful all the time, I have problems coming up with comparative references for Selvans on Pater Surgens. Agalloch or some bands on Northern Silence Records may come to mind. Not outright folky, but certainly full of atmosphere, Pater Surgens begins crushing it in with double bass and culminates around 10'30", after which this moving composition dissolves into its own synth laden inner beauty, closing with a sound of a native (?) instrument I cannot even identify.
Mater Universi then has a tough act to follow, but it would not be on this split if it wasn't deserving. Opening with a somber rainy flow, Mater Universi is originally more reserved, more pensive. Longer in duration, Mater Universi is less frantic and reaches its exaltation slower after colder shrill guitar notes slice through the fabric. Everything then collapses into an acoustic break around 6'40". Hand beating timpani, cello, a bit of clean voices and Latino rhythms sounding like very slow samba eventually lead “onto the battle" moments again. No less rousing or moving than Selvans, Downfall of Nur is inspiring in its own way. Gazillion bands can do double bass driven melodies, but Mater Universi just has melancholic power wings attached to it.
Outro/LUNA is a logical conclusion where Intro/SOL was a beginning. Charged atmosphere of Intro/SOL led to atmospheric disturbances, but now T-storm has passed, only rumbles of thunder still roll periodically from the distance, their frequency diminishing. Serenity sets in, with quiet night under the shining moon lying ahead for the forest meadow where Selvans flutes can still be heard.
This may be 40 min of music you least expect to hear, but it is guaranteed to leave highly impressed.
Killing Songs :
|Alex quoted 90 / 100|
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