November 1, 2013 | , , | 3.5

Deiphago / Ritual Combat, Accept the Mark

Deiphago / Ritual Combat: Accept the Mark

Deiphago I am fully and Satanically familiar with. Ritual Combat not so much. Thankfully the two sacrilegious bands decided to team up with this four song split release. Accept the Mark sees the legendary masters of bestial war metal at the top of their game, while the group of newcomers from LA make one hell of an introduction.

The first two songs are courtesy of Deiphago. The group open up with “Beast of Annihilation,” the only original offering from the group and sweet baby Jesus nailed to a burning cross is it evil as fuck. These guys know how to set the mood nicely with reverb-drenched guitars, bestial drums and snarling, vicious growls (which sound as though they were recorded in some giant, underground mausoleum). The song is all that you could want from the band and more.

Next up is a cover of Sarcofago’s “The Last Slaughter.” I can’t bring to mind how the original sounded, but this take on it is pretty goddam blasphemous. Honestly, I never would have guessed this a cover had I not read it in the promo literature — it sounds just like the opening track in terms of temper and structure. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but I do know that this song kills.

Ritual Combat do little to make any sort of pleasantries in their introduction as they dive head first into a churning, pile-driving mass of blackened mayhem. “Red in Blood and Death” carries a cleaner production than the band’s counterparts on this split, but it’s no less violent that’s for sure though it’s also got a measure of restraint in terms of the chaotic atmosphere of Deiphago. The song brings swirling riffs, unrelenting pounding drums and a higher end, raspy scream. It’s got a more traditional black metal sound, but without the cold guitar tones — these are lovingly warmed by Satan’s lapdogs.

“Black War 666” wraps up this apocalyptic split with even more raw ugliness. There’s even more vitriol in the screams this time around as the churning, swirling guitars do little in the way of variation. It’s a good thing the drummer didn’t get a crap during his machine-gunning performance. I think Ritual Combat may have a bit of a repetition issue to work out, but I do love their energy.

Accept the Mark is everything I want in a split EP — violence, brevity and good fucking music. I fully enjoyed Deiphago’s offerings and this was a great introduction to the Left Coast’s Ritual Combat.