CHRCH, Fister unleash explosive, varied approaches to doom with smothering, nasty split release

Like all of metal’s subgenres, doom has so many different colors and tastes that’s it’s sometimes tough to keep them all apart. But that’s part of what makes it such a rich form of extreme music. There is such a wide variety of manners to play the music and express this style of darkness that it’s likely to keep evolving forever.

A new split EP from Crown and Thorne Ltd. and Battleground Records brings together CHRCH and Fister, two bands that approach doom from very different avenues but do come together in styles now and again. This release brings songs from two groups whose profiles are swelling underground that only can be found on this limited-edition vinyl, and it’s probably a good idea to jump on this soon if you want a copy for yourself. And considering each track the bands bring to this effort is a mammoth, you’re practically getting a full-length-worth of material


We last heard from CHRCH with 2015 debut record “Unanswered Hymns,” a revelation of an album that inserted this promising band into the bubbling bustle that is doom metal. They presented three tracks that spread over nearly 45 minutes, and they powerfully mixed aggression and pained beauty on an album that opened a lot of eyes and ears. Here they are now, two years later, and they have this one monster track “Temples” that continues what the band—vocalist Eva, guitarists Shann and Chris, bassist Ben, and drummer Adam—planted in 2013 and lets the roots take hold until they’re practically cemented into the ground. It’s an awesome piece that should swell their pull and keep mouths frothed for whatever they have next.

“Temples” runs 16:46 and begins quietly and solemnly, letting the darkness take hold. Once the song opens, we’re into glorious melodies that glimmer, smothering heaviness, and downright savage growls from Eva. Vicious black vibes rumble the ground, as the elements rain down unmercifully, and the noise elements spread and sting. We’re then into a heavy mud pit, as the tires spin, sending filth flying, and desperate cries float above the muck. Ghostly apparitions rise and stretch over the atmosphere, as violent cries pierce the flesh, the music halts to a trickle, and the final remnants of blood splatter, with everything heading down the drain.


St. Louis doom trio Fister long have brought the darker, more sinister elements of metal to their sound. Ever since their formation in 2009, the band has brought evil and shadowy terror to the proceedings, as if Fister have opened up hell and let it pour forth into the Earth. The band pounds and grinds you with their sound, as they’ve torn up wounds on their three full-length records (their most recent is 2015’s “IV”) as well as their smaller releases and other splits with groups such as Primitive Man, Teeth, and Everything Went Black. Here, the band unleashes “The Ditch” a lurching, punishing, unforgiving track that these guys—vocalist/bassist Kenny Snarzyk, guitarist/backing vocalist Marcus Newstead, and drummer Kirk Gatterer—use to melt down your psyche and let it drain into the sewers.

“The Ditch” is a 20:29 skull-dragger, bludgeoning immediately, crushing you in ugliness and letting the dirt coat your skin. The growls are feral, as they are for the bulk of this animal, and a devastating pace leads into a strong solo that provides a glimpse of melody and sets fires that burn toward a psychedelic chill that fills out the middle section. That coldness lasts for a stretch before it’s interrupted by a long, hypnotic section of guitars that searches and slithers over several minutes. Out of that, the song tears through the crust again, as the tempo returns to reckless wildness, and the vocals are a threatening diatribe. That display lingers, shreds, and concusses, as the noise wrenches and grinds to a finish.

CHRCH and Fister are two of doom’s most varied and interesting bands, and their contributions to this devastating split release should be enough to keep their listeners going until each return with new records. This is a feast’s worth of music that is violent but also thought provoking, and each group has something different to offer on their gigantic contributions. This is well worth your hard-earned dollars, because few records you’ll pick up this year will both punish you and excite you about metal’s future.

For more on CHRCH, go here:

For more on Fister, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

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