Many relationships are built on rocky, unsteady terrain, where the slightest disturbance could set things barreling toward oblivion. Then there are other that, no matter the tumult and the chaos, cannot be torn apart, even with a chainsaw. Today, we have one that falls in the latter category. Let the weeping and outpouring of emotions commence.
See, Pittsburgh’s own death assault unit Taphos Nomos knew one day they would collaborate on a split offering with like-minded Icelandic horde Urðun, but it always seemed that getting the two bands to commit to getting material done seemed to crumble to hell. Band lineups shifted, energies tumbled, yet these two bands would not hear of throwing in the towel. Finally, in March of this year, their split “R.I.P.” saw the light of day via cassette release from Caligari Records, but that wasn’t enough to allow this evil force to spread. Now, Our Ancient Future is committing the seven-track effort to vinyl for the first time, and you would be advised to act soon, as only 200 are being pressed. And you’re going to need one of these if you give fuck all about true, abominable death. That’s what these two bands are all about after all, albeit in much different ways. Taphos Nomos are concentrated largely on death over long periods of time, the fossilization process (as if you couldn’t guess that from their name), and geological horrors, while Urðun are slightly more traditional, immersing you in terror and violent destruction. It all blends together so very nicely.
Taphos Nomos’ section is called “Rarely Investigated Phenomena,” and it opens with “Arboreal Tombs” and its sea of noise and warbled voices singing. Then the song opens, and the death march is on. The pace mauls and slithers toward you, with muddy growls gurgling underneath everything. The tempo then begins to stomp bones, hitting a thrashy fury dressed in scathing shrieks and a blistering finish. “Autocannibalism Beneath the Avalanche” lets sounds hang before the vocals break through. Slow-driving death drags bodies through the muck before the guitars light up and send the fires into screaming madness. It feels like the band is bending time, while the growls turn to disorienting singing before changing back, and everything ends abruptly. “Lightning Stroke Obliteration (Bolt Catcher)” has a serene, acoustic beginning before the violence arrives. Monstrous growls and lumbering guitars lead the way before the thing changes faces suddenly. Bass charges and the whole thing ignites, and while there’s a brief moment where the force is pulled back, it ends with gruesome mauling that tears out your heart. We in Pittsburgh already know of Taphos Nomos’ power (if you’re local and haven’t seen them yet, WTF?), and now it’s time for them to spreads havoc across the world.
The Urðun part is named “Rigorously Intensified Putrefaction,” and that gives you a good hint about what’s ahead. “Tortured to the Grave” has a belchy start before the rhythm section delivers welting, and weird vocals lead to a disarming path of physical death. The riffs destroy, while the playing causes dizziness, and a serving of doom darkens the room before closing the door forever. “Immense Rot” has a bruising start, as the guitars spiral, recoil, and strike, and the drums devastate everything in its path. A bizarre voice speaks out, while eeriness sets in like a death cold, and then the soloing goes off and tears holes in its surroundings. The playing tramples and buries, keeping up the intensity until the song fades into the distance. “Wrath of the Zombies” just obliterates, as killer riffs sink in their teeth and also make maximum impact over the chorus. The track is chewy and menacing, blasting toward a thunderous end. Closer “Grafir & Bein,” named after the chilling Icelandic cinematic thriller, is a calculating beast, unloading at its own leisure but always knocking you for a loop. Doom bleeds into the track, while a section of vomitous choking adds a deeper sense of unease. The song then catches fire again, horrible shrieks send waves of panic, and sooty, marring riffs bring the terror to its final resting place. This is strong, classic death in the vein of Autopsy (the cassette version has their cover of “Charred Remains”), and more of this can only serve to further sicken the underground anew.
This union of Taphos Nomos and Urðun always was meant to be, and despite matters that would tear other bands apart and put such projects on the backburner, both sides bled and strived to make “R.I.P.” a reality. The fact that it contains a sampling of two of death’s true up-and-coming maulers should be even more reason to dig into this and devour. Death reigns supreme again, and these two groups will have a large role in furthering that into the future, whatever of it is left.
For more on Taphos Nomos, go here: https://www.facebook.com/taphosnomos/
For more on Urðun, go here: https://www.facebook.com/urdun
To buy the album, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/collections/all
For more on the label, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/