(Everswallower Productions)

[I had an opener paragraph here, but I deleted it for reasons. So because I dove into this release knowing nothing about it, I fling you, the casual observer, into the review without a frame of reference. Happy reading!]

Yeah, I like the dark. It works for me sometimes, and the accompanying sounds of artists who also like the dark can be appropriately soothing at the right moment. I like Earth Mesmerism – there’s a great vibe about the project, nothing too in your face or over the top. It’s like a meeting of Xiu Xiu and Badalamenti, if that hadn’t actually already happened in full-length album form. The three tracks on the EM side run about sixteen minutes, and they’re an absolute pleasure to immerse yourself in.

Then holy crapping what the crap I wasn’t ready for Sacramence. I mean, when are you really ever ready for Sacramence? Or am I thinking of sacraments? Either way, Sacramence’s side opens the blast furnace doors wide open with the unbearable noise of hellish heat. That’s all I can say, really. It’s wonderful in its burn-to-cleanse style, and sets the tone marvelously for the rest of the split. Sacramence flits between noise and crust/black metal, all of it punishing, all of it intensely satisfying. It’s like the unholy meeting of Wreck and Reference and Bosse-De-Nage. Come to think of it, why hasn’t Sacramence released music on The Flenser? You’re due!

The two sides couldn’t be more different, and sometimes that’s the best way to do a split. You get lulled into one way of thinking by the A-side artist, then you get completely flipped off your hammock by the artist on the B-side. Take my word for it folks – this is amazingly relistenable. Play it over and over and uncover the new and even more exciting nuances you’ll capture on repeat. Turns out I’m having a really great day doing just that!

--Ryan Masteller