Split LPs can be tricky affairs. In many cases they simply don’t contain either band’s best material and equally as often, when limited to what they can fit on one side of a seven-inch, the level of constraint, for many bands, doesn’t allow the room for ideas to fully develop. There are plenty of exceptions – last year’s Locrian/Horseback split being one example.
And now too this split from Milwaukee’s nihilistic sludge behemoths Northless and London’s own darkly progressive denizens of heaviness, Light Bearer.
Making a claim for the track title of the year award with opener For As Long As You Walk The Earth Your Blood Will Reek Of Failure, Northless nonetheless rather plod along in a familiar, yet horrendously heavy vein of Neurosis-like bludgeons, with Eyehategod nihilism and the merest contamination of Khanate levels of hegemony-shredding noise.
The payoff is Light Bearer’s near-22-minute contribution, Celestium, which creeps and crawls from constricting noise to cacophonous sludge to subtle, emotional meanders reminiscent of *shels.