Split Your 2017 Wide Open with Batrakos and Aisna
Later this week, Xenoglossy Productions will drop one of the oddest, most satisfying splits you’ll hear all year in metal. Today we’re pleased as all hell to let you stream the new Batrakos | Aisna split ahead of its release. Whether you’re interest in noisy experimentation or just want to hear some sick Hellenic-style tremolo, this new release is sure to have something for everyone.
Batrakos | Aisna rips right out of the gate with a boisterous, avant-garde black metal track courtesy of Dada expressionists Batrakos. Drawing upon their multifaceted back-catalogue, which features both more conventional black metal efforts and perplexing noise EPs, the band quickly dives into unpredictability, at times sounding like fellow industrial black metal acts like Wolok or Spektr, at others like Bon Jovi(?????). If you’re as perplexed/intrigued/aroused as I am by that last sentence, just press play on “Le beau est mort” and let the oddity wash over you. Right from the start Batrakos batters you with what sounds like a talk-box riff filtered through black metal distortion; it’s confusing, disorienting, and oddly mellifluous when matched with the crackling drums and thrumming machine chirps in the background. Mercifully, after a mid-track lull, one of the most evil-sounding riffs you’ll hear all year slowly rises up on its haunches, snarling viciously as layer upon layer of alternate guitar tracks break and splinter around its single, monstrous guitar line. It’s a nasty experience worth the price of admission alone, so we lose very little as Batrakos indulge their industrial predilections with only minimal metal trappings on track 2. If you like the moody stylings of Miserist or Halloween film soundtracks, this half of the split, inspired by surrealist art, is for you!
If, however, you prefer black metal with a far more heroic flair, the Hellenic-esque riffs peddled by Aisna will likely be more your speed. Originally a folk project helmed by a sole warrior named, uh, Warrior, Aisna absorbed Warrior’s other project Februus and melded the original Etruscan culture lore of the folk act with the vicious riffs of Warrior’s black metal output. And, simply put, we’re all the better for that wedding of styles and ideals. The vicious tremolo and cracking blasts of “Vanec Calus” perfectly suit the lore of the gods and heroes that so influenced the development of Roman ideals. But it isn’t all soaring leads and stirring growls that sets Aisna apart; midway through “Vanec Calus,” Warrior pairs a contemplative melodic acoustic line with the bombastic riffs that act as the track’s backbone. It’s a sublime, intriguingly emotional moment that will no doubt have you hoisting your sword and going to war with Imperialist forces. Thankfully, the pomp and grandeur is maintained on final track “Hinthial Terasials,” a song that will no doubt breathe fire into the most stoic fans of Nocternity and End. That mid-paced stomp of a riff absolutely has me ready to die for the greater good.
I’ve written at length about how jarring it can be when two mismatched bands are paired on a split. Yet, the effect is deeply satisfying on Batrakos | Aisna. We begin this split alone and afraid in a world of consuming machinery and crushing despondency, yet we end feeling victorious, majestic, and ready to face all foes. If that’s not a hell of satisfying ride, you may just be comatose.
Batrakos | Aisna drops October 20th. Many thanks to Xenoglossy Productions for giving us a taste. If you like what you hear, be sure to pre-order the record on Bandcamp. Until then, let us bathe in the blood of pigs at Guernica.