June 26, 2008 | | 3

Miasma / Grauen Pestanz, Into the Fire of...

“…Satanic music made for Satanists.” At least, that’s what the promotional material that came along with this release is telling me. So, if I’m not a Satanist, can I still listen to it? I’m not quite sure what the rules are, but I do know that the six tracks on this EP will leave you wanting to worship some dark deity — or at least sacrifice a small rodent to said malevolent presence.

Filling the air with dark textures, nightmarish sounds and caustic, ambient black metal both Miasma and Graun Pestanz deliver the evil goods with their respective tracks. Alternating tracks between themselves, the bands’ styles are similar enough that there is not much disconnect from song to song. While Miasma is a bit more open sounding with more pronounced vocals and a Xasthur style to their music, Grauen Pestanz is much darker and slower paced with a chanting, dark monk sort of feel to it. Between the two band’s you’ve got yourself the perfect sound track to your next ritual killing.

Into the Fire
Miasma starts off the EP with some layered vocal noise and static for the first 48 seconds or so before a slow, eerie riff comes in with steady drums. The vocals are in the distant and remind me a great deal of Xasthur’s vocal presentation. The track is filled with the sounds of solitude and desolation that gets more aggressive and violent as the song progresses.

Inceptum Quod Visum
Grauen Pestanz’s first offering for this split EP starts off slowly with industrial noise layered vocals that are hard to decipher and lay in the background. There’s a good dose of churning, nightmarish sounds throughout this track that is comprised of lots of static noise and incomprehensible growls and screams in the far distance.

Reaching for Choronzon
“Reaching for Choronzon” is Miasma’s second offering and it starts off with light guitar work that’s moody and dark. An evil riff and scream come in shortly after the first 30 seconds have passed. The vocals come through as tortured screams.

Ritus Excessum
This next one from Grauen Pestanz is a little more out front than their previous offering. It’s still mostly an evil soundscape with wails and dark moans along with disturbing noise and textures, but it’s got a little more oomph to it than “Inceptum Quod Visum.” The track builds in power before fading out silently for the last 10 seconds or so.

Formless Reflection
Miasma wastes no time getting into their next track. Driving riffs and a quicker beat start off “Formless Reflection.” This is probably the best track on the album. It’s got a dark, aggressive edge to it, yet the infectious riffing and vocals give it more life than the other songs. Miasma’s contributions to the disc end just as abruptly as this one started.

Shadow’d Being
Forgoing the ambient dark tones of their previous two tracks, Grauen Pestanz finally let loose with a structured song. This one is a full on black metal assault that makes you wonder why they even bothered with the more ambient soundscapes before this track. I would much rather have heard more of this aggressive assault on the senses than the other stuff they added to this EP. It’s just too bad it’s an abbreviated teaser of what Grauen Pestanz are truly capable of.

~ ~ ~

Into the Fire of Isolation is a brief but dark showcase of what both Miasma and Grauen Pestanz are capable of delivering. Bleak, nightmarish soundscapes mix with driving black metal to form an unholy union of diabolical proportions. If you’re more into the more experimental, ambient side of the genre, but still need that straight forward, no-nonsense black destruction, this this EP is what you need.

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