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[Review] Hvile I Kaos / Angmar – Cellistic Black Metal Tyranny

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Hvile I Kaos and Angmar, two cello centric studio projects hailing from the United States of America, joined together in a split release entitled Cellistic Black Metal Tyranny. Hvile I Kaos and Angmar are both self-described as “Cellistic Black Metal” projects, however the sound of the genre is more akin to Classical Music than Black Metal. Listeners new to this kind of theme may be expecting these artists to sound like Apocalyptica, but there is more to it than that – let’s take a look further.

Cellistic Black Metal Tyranny is a four track split, two tracks by Hvile I Kaos open things up. Formerly Hvile I Kaos (a one man project) was recorded with four cellos, this time around for the split Hvile I Kaos has the consistent theme of an acoustic guitar added to the cellos. I am unsure if this is not “trve” to the theme of Cellistic Black Metal, but it really works to the favour of Hvile by creating definitive tempo. The acoustic guitar is used more as a rhythmic instrument than for just creating harmonies, making rhythm that I don’t think the cello can really recreate with strums and chords. It is a bit challenging to describe the motions the cellos go through as a metalhead, but the first song sounds like a grand chase in a sombre movie sequence. The structure of the music is unwinding and entertaining, seemingly bouncing from one wall of my mind to the other. The recording quality for Hvile I Kaos is of a high quality, lacking any sort of black metal rawness – each track having a full sound that feels like more than just a few cellos and an acoustic guitar.

Angmar’s (also a one man project for the most part) portion of the split is also two songs in length. Angmar has more of a raw take on Cellistic Black Metal, as well as constant tremolo just about – perhaps being the more black metal or “kvlt” of the two projects. Angmar seems to only use three cellos in the recordings, two for rhythm and one that comes in and out as the lead. The production is not as full as Hvile I Kaos, making it less cinematic and more low-key. Musically, with the copious amounts of tremolo, this is perhaps the closest a cello project can get to the Black Metal sound. There are brief moments where a Bach-like influence comes through, like throughout the sounds of Erlkonig.

Splits can be tricky finding a balance between two contrasts; I feel the balance here is a bit brittle. The production quality being one of the main factors that handicaps the split, going from high quality into some rawness. However, if the production were evened out, these projects would still be distinct from one another. These projects are also their own thing, not simply recreations of Apocalyptica and are worthy of being heard out.

I would give this split 70 out of 100.

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