Review: Sivad and Funeral of God -The Black Mass Covenant

630229.jpgWritten by the Black Metal Bitch

The concept of the split album has been around for a while now; one of the earliest I could find was the Beatles and The Four Seasons back in the mid-60’s, but more recently it’s been a fairly common occurrence in the underground metal scene, particularly for the grindcore and black metal scene. It’s a great way for bands on a budget to get music to the fans and often times a great way to introduce similar acts. I normally stick to full lengths in terms of writing up reviews, but when two killer underground black metal bands come together I can’t help but review it.

Sivad is a fairly new black metal project from Memphis, Tennessee. Despite Black Mass Covenant being their first real release after their debut demo Whores of the Sabbat the band has amassed quite a following in the underground black metal community. And after hearing their three song contribution it’s no wonder as to why the hardcore black metal fans are rabid for more from this five piece metal militia.

The second part of the equation is Funeral of God and much like Sivad, they are new to the underground, which makes this split something really special because while these two bands don’t have the resume of bands like Kult of Azazel or Idolatry, they brought their A-game. Having formed in 2012 in Canton, Ohio, Black Mass Covenant is their second release after Skullfucked in the Name of Jehovah’s Weakness, and if this any indication of the potential these maniacs have, then I truly believe they will be a band that will rise to power quite quickly. The level of intensity and precision both of these newcomers bring to the USBM scene is definitely not to be missed. With that let’s take a look at Black Mass Covenant.

Wasting no time at all, Sivad tears into the first of three tracks. ‘Rituals of Christian Bloodshed’ immediately demonstrates a very noticeable blackened thrash element – the production isn’t perfect but every instrument is identifiable, and it’s tight and brutal with both guitars just murdering everything in their path. To make things all the better, there’s parts of this track that remind me of Zyklon because it just crushes. Drummer Manus displays serious talent as well with some killer tempo changes throughout the track.

‘Satanic Bloodvomit’ continues in the same vein with an all out attack, but the frenzy muddies the sound, an error I’m sure could be remedied with a good studio engineer. Sivad wage Christian genocide from start to finish – the experience is numbing as all members viciously desecrate their respective instruments. As the chorus chugs along, there’s a rabid mini solo and Der Wolf Dir Anbetung on vocals gowls, barks and screams like a man possessed.

The last track from the Memphis outfit is ‘The Draconian Womb,’ which is slightly less abrasive. The machine gun snare and heavy distortion grind and slam, rising and falling with force. This one echoes of a heavy Marduk influence during the Panzer Division era. Sivad has plenty of potential and I believe with a bit more experience and better sound quality these guys could do some serious damage.

‘Accosting the Unsullied’ is the first track from Ohio’s FOG (Funeral of God) and within the first minute or so I am in love. There’s a touch of the same Marduk influence but also a more technical approach with sudden stops and a more polished delivery. Olithian on guitars is impressive, as it’s extremely crisp and tight, and the range displayed is refreshingly appreciated as he belts out devastating riff after another. It’s very apparent that FOG is a talented group of guys, NK Daemonos is a perfect match for the precision playing of Olithian because everything is just perfectly harmonized and loaded with firepower. For a first release these guys have nowhere to go but up.

‘Ultagi’ is another vicious track. Its blistering opening quickly breaks down into a slower rhythm full of impossibly fast quadruple bass drum patterns and an eerie, traditional black metal guitar sound before diving back into the battle. The diversity and range is definitely notable. From those slower parts to the faster ones, the progression is flawless and never boring. The pinch harmonics, that inhuman bass drum pattern is orgasmic and even the vocals are spot on.

The last track of the split is ‘Throne of Bones’ and this one is no less awesome. Crunchy thrash riffs drive the first verse, memorable and tasty fretwork layered over black metal snare drums. The saying goes that the devil is in the details and FOG don’t miss a single opportunity to shine. The guitar solo on the back end of the track is professional quality and when it’s all over it leaves me wanting more.

It’s always a lovely surprise when new bands can put out something truly remarkable and that’s exactly what’s happened on this split. Sivad could use a little help in the studio, but otherwise demonstrate some absolutely brutal black metal and Funeral of God just fucking nailed it. I definitely look forward to seeing what the future of these bands holds because there is a ton of potential here and I implore all fans of the underground black metal scene to run out and pick up a copy of this one. Get it or die. 8/10

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