A showcase of American black metal including veteran act Krieg and three newer acts, this four-way split 7” (something I always adore when I see) offers up nihilism and cruelty on a silver platter for all those willing to indulge. 

Bitter Peace’s “Ageless Conquering Wolves” starts the cry of war with George Bush Sr.’s famous “New World Order” quote that has been sampled by other artists in the past but is one of those timeless quotes that will forever be used much like “I too have been touched by the devilish one.” from Twin Peaks or any number of Regan’s lines from The Exorcist, and is very befitting for underground metal. While nothing unique in terms of innovation, Bitter Peace certainly unleashes traditional and punishing black metal extremely well and have since moved on to an agreement with Moribund Records, which is a damn good home to be at!

 Short and sweet, Esoterica’s “O For A Thousand Tongue To Sting” reminds me much of 90s American black metal when the scene was in its nascent form and was putting out one exceptional band another while the Norwegian scene was “evolving” into a bunch of comical dance club projects. And reminding me of that very formative era is always a good thing. I’ll have to consume mass quantities of these guys from now on!

 Ah, Krieg. How many times have you threatened us in the past that you were going to lay this project to rest, Mr. Imperial? Well I’m sure glad you’ve about-faced on that “promise” each time, because the world wouldn’t be the same without you in it! “This Time I’ll Leave You To Drown” continues Krieg’s dark and brooding sound that has been the norm since “The Black House” album of many years ago and I’ll be damned if there’s any other band that has been on as many splits during their tenure. May you live to be on a thousand more!

 The sole non-chaotic sounding track is by The Many, a black doom torture session with some voice samples from an interview about some lady discussing the devil (one of those bogus cult kidnapping victims of the 1980s that was interviewed in silhouette, perhaps?) that culminates in a clean vocal chant of “You son of a bitch, you son of a biiitch!” repeatedly. The Many happens to be the project of Plastik Musik owner Nathan Kite, who turns out to have also done the vocals for Bitter Peace, showing us his admirable versatility.

 It really sucks when a 7”, especially a split (let alone a goddamn four-way split!) leaves you wanting more. While I’ve been familiar with Krieg since the first incarnation of Blood Fire Death Records many, many moons ago, this was my very first dalliance with the other acts, and I’m thoroughly satisfied and impressed with what they’ve given us. With America proving itself to be quite the stronghold for some incredible black metal for three decades now, it’s good to see a continuing wealth of talent arise from the country where the streets and paved in gold and every race and religion lives together in harmony (I am, in fact, typing this on the Fourth of July, ironically).