Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: Jute Gyte/Venowl - Split (Black Horizons)

Black Horizons is a label that is constantly pushing the boundaries of what dark music can become. The label has increasingly become a house for the obscure, releasing works from acts like death industrial legend Trepaneringsritualen or a recent demo from American black metal luminaries L'Acephale consisting of original tracks and completely reimagined covers of Darkthrone, Current 93, and Emperor. Everything the label releases is challenging and makes the listener rethink the confines of dark music, which, in turn makes it the perfect label to release this split. A union of two bands that take their respective genres and completely warp them until the foundation is non-existent, only leaving traces of what was, Jute Gyte and Venowl act as perfect compliments to one another.

Jute Gyte strikes first on the split, the project of sole member Adam Kalmbach who creates eerie and surreal black metal. The music created by this individual is honestly unlike anything else, it squirms and writhes creating an incoherent cacophony of squealing guitar, bashing drums, and snarled vocals. At times there is a break from the reckless abandon of the song and a heavy riff will present itself, showcasing a more straightforward form of madness. Jute Gytes approach is discordant and unsettling, relying heavily on odd time signatures and layers upon layers of noise accompanying the metal. The second track from Jute Gyte, "The Rib" immediately hits the listener with disjointed doom, seemingly off-key notes piece through a trudging malice the track presents. Soon after this the doom is gone and back is Kalmbach's frantic style of playing, chords and notes are scattered over noise and ambience. His contribution ends with an almost deathrock feel, echoing guitar and haunting ambience, creating a wholly unsettling atmosphere, a fitting end to the spastic horror found on Jute Gyte's side of the split.

Venowl have recently become a staple of my listening habits. Their brand of black/doom/noise/insert another arbitrary genre here is exceptionally challenging and disturbing. The three members who are simply called ::, ][, and // approach music in a way that, like Jute Gyte, is completely outside the realms of influence and categorization, meaning there is no reference points. One could point to funeral doom or black metal or noise but in reality what Venowl create is something different, something completely their own. A creation that is non-musical yet extremely meticulous and oddly rhythmic. Utilizing the sinister ambience of a violin along with crushing guitar and bass trudging, minimalist drumming, and horribly pained shrieks, Venowl's piece "Snowbed" is twenty-seven minutes of drudging and depraved pandemonium. The only comparison I can make is that of a machine lurching to a grinding, violent halt after being over-worked for hundreds of years the sluggish, lumbering approach is industrial yet strangely organic. Through "Snowbed" the three musicians have yet again solidified their place as one of the most exciting and forward thinking acts currently active.

This split is a testament to how well splits can be executed, a perfect pairing of bands who are both pushing sonic boundaries rather than rehashing ideas. Jute Gyte's atonal and vicious black metal is complimented perfectly by Venowl's horrific dirge. Through this release Black Horizons, Jute Gyte, and Venowl yet again solidify themselves as a major forces within the underground dark music scene. Highly recommended and can be ordered here.

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