This split collects unreleased songs from Ophidian Forest, and one-man American project Haeresiarchs Of Dis. A fine contrast of styles makes this one of the better black metal offerings of recent years. Ophidian Forest play nature-themed black metal that avoids the pitfalls of linear and predictable minor-key progressions plaguing much of this niche. Instead, Ophidian Forest channel influences from early Graveland, early Summoning, and something of the droning ambience of Burzum, to present a nuanced take on old styles. Harmonically more intricate than its low-fidelity aesthetic would suggest, Ophidian Forest prove themselves adept at the establishment of a premise, its exposition, and eventual denouement.
Haeresiarchs Of Dis contributes the remainder and the bulk of this split. More recent full-lengths would insinuate legitimate comparisons with a band like Emperor, but the songs on this two-way are of a thrashier nature, not dissimilar to Bathory on Under The Sign Of The Black Mark/Blood Fire Death, and Absu. Either way, that this well-realized, technically aggressive black metal originates from the mind of a single person, is an achievement that should be heralded far more by the underground. Haeresiarchs Of Dis is obviously a project preoccupied with various shades of arcana, but, just like Absu and unlike so many other occult-themed modern bands, this fascination does not come at the expense of actual metal riff-writing chops. These songs may have been culled from the band’s full-lengths, but they are immense of composition and resound with genuine metal emotion.