Predatory Light, Vorde combine respective black metal science to both terrify and devastate

Predatory Vorde coverLet’s get right into today and get some words down about two of the best black metal bands creating soot-making chaos in underground circles and who would scare the pants off the bands that represent the sub-genre on these silly summer package tours and whose crap you can find at Hot Topic. Not to be all elitist, because everyone is entitled to their own tastes. I just happen to find these bands meatier, scarier, and far more substantive.

Having a split effort combining Predatory Light and Vorde is perfect in a numbers of ways. First, it gets two mega-exciting, uncompromising black metal bands together on a shared release, and it shows the very different ways these groups bring this style of music to life. Also, this is a great way for someone not terribly schooled on these bands, as well as the labels involved–Psychic Violence and Fallen Empire– that are two of the most forward-thinking out there. Predatory Light we visited with recently on the heels of the reissue of their debut demo “MMXIV,” a release that showed immediate promise for this Seattle-based band that combines members of groups such as Ash Borer, Anhedonist (may they rest in peace), Drought, Mania, and many more. They have two songs on this killer collection, and it further tears open the hole they have been droning into the Earth. Vorde assaulted us last year with their excellent debut full-length, released by Fallen Empire. It etched them into time as one of the strangest, most alien-like black metal bands on Earth, one that’ll grab you and weird you the hell out. They’re up to more of the same with their two cuts, and both tracks excite the hell out of me. And make me really uncomfortable.

Predatory Light draw the two tracks that were on their “Death Essence” demo and begin with thunderous “Bathed in Tongues,” which starts at a balmy pace, letting the heat rise up and lilt you. The melodies begin to swelter, the harsh vocals kick in and peel the skin from your face, and the great lead guitar work catches fire and blazes forward. A cloudy, hazy essence then situates itself over the scene, the guitars charge up and begin spiraling out of control, and these threads bleed into “Death Essence,” flowing into slow-moving darkness that stymies and mesmerizes. Then it ignites, with the guitars tearing the scene apart but with the melodies still causing your head to swim. The pace stomps hard, with growls buried under tons of noise, the tempos and melodies changing up and morphing into new things, and a doomy elegance arriving to make everything murkier. The last minutes have the growls blasting everything anew, riffs crashing down, and the track rumbling to a violent finish.

Vorde’s contributions haven’t been heard on a recording before, and they’re bizarre, crunching pieces. “Seven Forms” has a strange, spacey environment, with the odd vocals lurching out and feeling completely detached from humanity. There is harsh gurgling, scary, howled words that chill the bones, and creepy synth lines that give off a feeling of outer space horrors. It’s a transmission that seems like it was jettisoned here from deep in the cosmos, and its piercing finish is completely explosive. “Husks in Cosmic Afterbirth” is pretty aptly named, beginning again in the stars and swimming among terrain never explored by humankind. Again, the vocals are just utterly ghoul-like, making your flesh crawl and your eyebrows wrinkled about the incredibly great confusion over what you’re hearing. The song goes clean and ashen toward its center before it blows open again and the band starts assaulting the hell out of you. Vorde play mauling, smearing infamy, with the sound melting your senses and the final body blows putting you down for good.

These bands are just at their start, and they’re already explosive, misery-making machines. This split release gives you a nice dose of what each does so well, which is a lot of things, and gives you glimpses into the future of underground black metal. Predatory Light and Vorde are names you need to remember and bands you should track down now, with this split effort being a great way to make your formal introduction.

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