When two bands join in conspiracy with each other, what do you get? A split, of course! And in The Vision of Fading Mankind, we find two French bands that ride the line between death and black metal in Temple of Baal and Ritualization.

Temple of Baal leads the way, charging forth with their modernistic take on the whole death/black metal thing. Some people consider “modern” to be a dirty word when it comes to this kind of music, but there’s nothing to worry about here—the music is sufficiently harsh and inaccessible to dispel any concerns that the band may be attempting to appeal to contemporary trends. Sure, the production values aren’t exactly lo-fi, but it isn’t exactly squeaky clean either. It fits what the band has chosen to focus on: malevolent riffs that pummel the listener into oblivion. There isn’t much subtlety here, but you probably won’t care when your mortal soul is being battered into submission while spinning this disc.

Ritualization follows up with a sound that leans much more to the death metal side of the spectrum, complete with guttural vocals and all. The production here is a little softer than what was found on Temple of Baal’s half of the split. However, it fits the songs well, accentuating the wicked melodies contained within the monstrous riffs. Speaking of the riffs, they change with such frequency that your head won’t be motionless for long, if at all, for the duration of Ritualization’s three tracks.

I found myself enjoying Ritualization’s offerings just a little more, but you really can’t go wrong with either band. This solid slab of concentrated malice has earned my seal of approval.