This lengthy split unites two Finnish bands with a modernized approach towards Black Metal. This is the first non-demo release for Goats of Doom, whereas Dødkvlt has already released two full-length albums.
The Dødkvlt-tracks were recorded amidst the recordings of the solo-project's second full-length, and you can hear it since they have a very similar soundscape. The compositional side is very different, though. The three ten-minuters are slowly building and evolving ones that rely on mid-pace melodies and small instrumental gimmicks instead of traditional fast blasts, although there are faster bits during the thirty minutes. The songs tell (if simplified a lot) about Lucifer's battle to ascend to heaven and take it over, along with war against christians, so it's only natural that the songs are rather epic by nature. It's a shame that the lyrics aren't included on the release, as they would help in understanding and perceiving the songs.
These three songs are less about memorability and appeal, and more about the whole thirty-minute tale and experience. The songs progress very naturally and have a lot of interesting moments, from fast beatings to slower and more atmospheric bits, as well as tastefully epic ones. The modern and professional soundscape works decent in bringing the songs to life, although the riffs would've benefited from a guitar sound that allows more contrast and nuances. The songs hold both traditional and very progressive elements, but still stick together rather well. The programmed drums have been crafted with time and effort, and the raw and hoarse vocals have a lot of emotion. If the songs had overall more emotion and memorability, and if the different parts would create stronger contrasts and hold a stronger flow, it would be flawless.
As-is, it's worth a strong 8½ / 10.
Goats of Doom's part begins right after "Doom Sower" has ended. Instead of creating a solid whole like Dødkvlt, "GoD" focuses on creating strong and effective individual songs. The songs are between six and eight minutes in length, and are packed full. The songs' backbone is built of traditional Norwegian black metal, but the cleaner and more modern soundscape and catchier vocal arrangements keep them from sounding like a pastiche. The tremolos and overall fast paces are balanced with slower mid-parts that might have some acoustic guitar, tribal drumming and ethnic vocals, slower death metal-like churning, or other surprising elements that give the songs a lot of strength and personality. There are some really simple synth-ambience here and there in the background as well, and it works well in keeping the songs from becoming repetitive.
Despite all the variation from ethnic flirts and acoustics to traditional black metal and heavy death metal, the songs are solid and strong. They have quite a lot of catchiness (in the form of shout-alongs and "moshability") and strong rhythms, so the songs leave a pleasing aftertaste. The thing just is that they're perhaps even too stuffed; the four songs are a rather heavy listen, and since they don't have a flow from one song to another, the big picture is quite a challenge to grasp. The modern soundscape adds to the stuffed feel as well, as the instruments don't have enough room to breathe in. The group is working on their debut full-length at the moment, and I'm curious to hear if they've managed to make that one more holistic.
Goats of Doom present black metal done with a lot of effort and a personal touch. I just wish that the lyrics were included, as I would've gladly read the blasphemy while listening to the respective songs.
8+ / 10
The split has a dull and aversive visual side, it holds no lyrics, and the bands follow each other without a break that would help the listener digest what s/he's just gone through. Otherwise the release is well recommendable to anyone with a taste for more modern black metal. You just need to give it a while to open up, as its one-hour length is packed tight with few breathing pauses.