This split unites two Finnish black metal bands, both formed in 2004, that don't represent the most traditional nor accepted styles within the genre. The booklet states that "Because It's Wrong stands for utmost hybrids that rises men to gods as well as falls them below animals," and that together with the cover image and track listing might give you an idea what we're dealing with here.
It was many a month ago when I reviewed Verge's currently latest full-length album Sex & Violence, and knowing the album's quality and amount of overwhelming atmosphere I prepared myself for quality music; knowing, however, that Verge's side on this split dates back to '08. These two records aren't exactly comparable, though, as this time around Verge sounds more twisted and introverted than I've heard 'em before.
The opening song is an almost jamming three-minuter with repetitive melodies by organ-synths and bass topped with an occasional shriek and a skilled guitar solo, and in its "lightness" it serves as a good path-opener for "Bloody Fist..." which opens with a weird-sounding melodica-melody. Otherwise the song sounds fairly usual to Verge; mid-tempo song with harsh guitars and strong bass-pulse, and many tasteful switches between slower and faster moments. The melodica rises its head here and there and the song has some oddly cheerful lead-guitaring in its end to stir up some confusion, but otherwise this song might be the most familiar-sounding to people who know Verge's past works. Song three is similar, but overall calmer and more toned down, and features a really tasty organ synth-driven intro. The vocalist's dry, harsh and feverish snarls and growls wander on the songs' surface, giving them an unique character while underlining their introversion.
After "Miser Psalmus," a calm but deeply depressed ambient-type song driven by organ-synths, off-key melodica and echoed chanting and howling, we get to the Tenhi-cover "Hiensynty" which, for me, is the split's absolute highlight. The originally piano-driven song has been twisted into a mixture of distorted and discordy guitars, the vocalist's dry shouts, and some cleaner guitar soloing and clean, spoken vocals. The song's composition is surprisingly faithful to the original song, but its nature is all different. The switches from light, almost heavy metal-like parts to discordy darkness are very intriguing, and the song has a great amount of catchiness despite its perverted qualities. "Traction," being a more traditional Verge-song with many switches and a darker and more solid sound seems a bit misplaced after "Hiensynty," but otherwise the song gives little to complain about.
Verge's songs have great duality; raw violence and clean melodies, almost jazzy jamming bits and traditional blasting, depression and joy, feverish lunacy and controlled sanity, hungering flesh and spirituality... There is a lot to hear and feel, but the songs' great variation leaves me wondering whether a rather eccentric entirety such as this could've been executed in a more holistic manner. The individual songs are all good, even great, but especially the last two songs seem a bit misplaced when thinking of the six-song entirety. This shameless 33-minuter needs its time to digest, and I don't really know who I could recommend it to. It's something that needed to be born for itself, not something that was wanted by others.
8½ / 10
This is my first time hearing a full release from Blood Red Fog, but my image of them as a some kind of doom metal-influenced black metal band wasn't all wrong. Their first ten-minute song (which begins with almost no break after Verge's "Traction") opens with a sludgy feedback-driven pace, and the tempo doesn't get a lot faster when the song actually begins. The guitars are very raw and the drums aren't too hi-fi either, which gives the songs nicely rugged feel. The cleaner and sturdier bass sound gives the song their pulsing backbone and a deep, dark feel, and the raw and distant shouts and screams make the tracks seem even darker and harsher.
The songs are indeed slow- or mid-paced for most of their play, and even though the first two songs have some moments of faster "norsecore"-blasting, the songs' main focus is on creating a slowly morphing ambience with darkness. The drums and guitars create the repetitively moving concrete elements within the fog of no light, and the vocals add in a certain level of inhumanity and lunacy. The songs range from six to ten minutes, with parts ranging from semi-acoustic and atmospheric bits to aforementioned traditional blasting with bolder guitar leads, with all this variation revolving around the simplistic and somewhat heavy mid-tempo riffs. Some synths are used in tasteful amounts to further deepen the songs' eerie feel, and the lyrics weigh in with their obscure and dreamingly otherwordly descriptions.
My main problem with Blood Red Fog's songs is that they leave little to my mind when their 35 minutes is over. The songs form one rather solid mass of nocturnal darkness with some melancholy and depression, and it's all-around pleasing; it's just that the actual compositional elements (riffs, melodies, changes between different song-sections...) flow by so smoothly and unnoticed that they don't stick to my mind during the listening. It might be intentional, though; the main thing i remember is the hopeless and desolate atmospheres, and perhaps some more prominent or even intrusive elements would distract them by bringing an unneeded living human's touch upon them. BRF's side is not entirely my cup of tea, but its quality is still indisputable.
Blood Red Fog presents 35 minutes of hopelessness and darkness. If you think you can take it, I warmly recommend giving them a listen. Regarding this album, the song "Bleak Waters" might be the easiest starting point with it's most traditional way of delivering melancholy through slow paces, repeating melodies and saddening guitar solos.
8 / 10
People more used to the traditional black metal-sound might have a hard time wrapping their minds around this split (and this applies to the digipack's design as well), but for people with a taste for somewhat more modern styles of black metal and feverish lunacy and darkness might want to give it a listen. It's certainly not the most listener-friendly record you can find, so I hope you're in terms with your inner self when giving it a spin.