This split-CD unites two Finnish black metal-based bands. It's packed in simplistic but stylish digipak-covers that include the lyrics. The covers are a bit dark and dull, though - not exactly bad, but not striking either.
Nodian continue from where their Blessed Mockeries-demo left off at. The songs are similarly experimental and varying, and contain leads and rhythms that are not too common in your standard black metal. The songs have a similarly dramatic and atmospheric feel to them, too, so I was not surprised by these songs in a good nor a bad way.
What has changed, however, is the soundscape; these songs are a bit rawer, and their sound allows the songs' minor details and nuances to shine - the lack of which I complained about regarding their aforementioned demo. The sound is heavy and raw enough, but also "light" enough to bring out the compositional variety and details, especially rhythm-wise. I am very pleased by this change. It is also to be mentioned that the compositions seem more cohese this time around, which means that moments like the demo's waltz-bit suddenly appearing from nowhere have been cut out.
Nodian's part lasts for mere ten minutes, which is simply too little. At least one more song would've been needed for their side of the split to make a proper impact. However, these songs demonstrate that the band has already taken a step forward on their musical path, and hence I'm certainly now forward to their future works with greater curiosity.
Next comes the collaborative three-minuter Styx, which is a decent interlude but nothing more than that. I do appreciate that it's there, though, as it creates a very natural transition from Nodian to Ancient Hatred.
This is my first time hearing Ancient Hatred, although they've been around for a few years already. Their music is similar to Nodian's in a sense that it's certainly based on black metal and other forms of darker metal, but the band has a clean-ish sound and the songs are more about contemplative atmospheres than brutal violence.
The two bands are a very natural split-pairing due to their similarities; one could even say that Ancient Hatred is like a slightly more primitive (in a good sense) version of Nodian with longer songs, gloomier atmospheres and harsher vocals. The vocals are a bit too loud in the mix when thinking of their rather usual sound, but other than that the band's soundscape doesn't leave a lot room for complaints. It could be a bit heavier, but it might be that a heavier sound would cause damage to the lead guitar melodies.
Although AH's songs are pleasing, I still think they'd need further refinement. The soundscape is good but fairly usual, and the compositions don't have any good hooks that would force you to listen to the songs over and over. Their reliance on mid-tempo repetition and slow, subtle melodies gives them a pleasing atmosphere, but it also makes them too easy to forget.
So, in short... this is a split worth buying to get to know the bands and it doesn't have a lot of flaws as such, but both of the bands are capable of creating greater works.