Northern Ireland? Yes you heard right. This one man black metal project originates from an area not exactly , famous for its spiteful, scuzzy black metal, but don't dismiss it as yet another forgettable 'run of the mill' bedroom black metal project. Contrary to the drum machines many solo black metal bands use, the drums on this record are done by Sam himself, along with all the other instruments. This short, two track ten inch is, to put it bluntly, an asphyxiating journey through a despondent mind, a manifestation stoked by anger and despair.
The A side, "Last Cast", starts off with a few seconds of feedback then a short count in on the sticks and immediately we are then thrown into a pounding bass drum rhythm at an ominously slow speed, with the buzzing, raw guitar work weaving in and out between each beat, immediately hypnotising you and submersing you in the blackness. The vocals emerge, a menacing, typical low black metal growl, not unlike that of Wrest from Leviathan's vocals on his older work. The song continues with this pulsating rhythm until about four minutes in, whereupon we're greeted with a harsh guitar lead until, at around six minutes, everything cuts out except the guitar. It goes on picking a soft, dissonant melody for a minute or so, then crashes into more chaos and back to almost the same rhythm as before except this time, the guitar riff is slightly faster until it fades out to the end of the song. The menacing drumming and relentless guitar work create this atmosphere of grief and regret over the loss of a loved one, it draws you in and refuses to let go, inducing you into a trance you can't escape from until the very end.
The next song, Speaking to Darkness, is my personal favourite. Starting off with some very slow, trudging guitar work, then morphing into a malicious, slow riff. The vocals in this song are slightly different to the last, more shrieked than before, with some slight effects used on them, creating a psychotic, terrifying aura. This song also contains some very good guitar leads, which is unusual for black metal, serving to convey this atmosphere of dread. Towards the end of the song things move up a gear and the terror becomes insanity, finally breaking down and creating the impression that everything is worthless, nothing but a forlorn and destitute spirit is left as the last notes fade out. The music could almost be described as black/doom in a way, although it's difficult to think of a comparison, as it isn't particularly Depressive Black or Funeral Doom.
The production for this EP is the usual low-fi production associated with black metal bands such as this - raw and crude. My only gripe about this release would be that the drums could be a bit lower in the mix and the guitars a bit higher; the vocals are perfect in my opinion. The bass can barely be heard, but that doesn't bother me too much. If you are a fan of slow-paced black metal then definitely try and check this out as it is a fine piece of work and deserves a lot of attention. Keep an eye out for this project in future, it could be due for great things.