Label: Crown And Throne Ltd
This is exactly how splits should work; the presence of one band you’re familiar with draws you in, leading to you checking the other side out, which results in you finding a new, awesome band to follow. That’s the case for me with this split. Palace Of Worms have, on the back of last year’s The Ladder (not to mention previous albums and splits), become one of my favourite modern metal acts, so I was very excited to receive this split. The good news is that Ecferus, who were previously unknown to me, have also offered up some excellent music that, combined with the three songs from Palace Of Worms, make this split an early highlight of 2017.
Palace Of Worms take the first side, with their three tracks being more death metal focused than anything I’ve previously heard from the one-man band. Whilst the progressive black metal DNA that lurks at the heart of Palace Of Worms is still present and clearly audible, there’s no denying the early death metal flavour of songs like “The Lost” and “Wendigo Sickness”. The progressive, forward-thinking metal that characterised previous Palace Of Worms releases is most clear on third track “Rot From The Stars”, but even here it’s still very much a case of the death metal being at the fore. It’s delightfully heavy, in a much more physical way than the emotional catharsis and bloodletting that made up The Ladder. It’s further evidence that sole member Balan is an excellent songwriter and musician, with a mastery of multiple aspects of metal, and continues the evolution of Palace Of Worms in exciting style.
Ecferus’ three tracks blur the lines between black and death metal, with a deathly sense of musical weight being combined with a black metal aura of mysticism and cruel melody. “Unveiled With Spears” is an uncomfortable, restless listen, forever shifting in form and direction like some kind of demon made of shadows; whilst “Transmigratory Astral Chatterings” features ominous drums and chanting, whilst an opening sample discussing the cosmic insignificance of humanity compliments the atmosphere of the music perfectly. Closer “Ritual Calamity” sees the split out in style, filled as it is with twisting, labyrinthine guitars and countless small details that will keep the listener coming back for more.
This split is a superb pairing between two creative, adventurous bands, and it’s to the credit of both Palace Of Worms and Ecferus that I could not say which side of the split is better – both bands offer three excellent tracks, making this a split I can leave playing for hours at a time. It’s great to hear Palace Of Worms continuing to grow and expand, and to be introduced to another band that are exciting and daring. This is not one to miss.
Split is set for release on January 31 2017, and can be pre-ordered on clear and silver vinyl at Crown And Thorne Ltd’s Bigcartel page. It’s also up on Bandcamp, so may be available for download and streaming in due course.