Catafalque, Malvost, Bogwych and The Owl – Split

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Artist: Catafalque / Malvost / Bogwych / The Owl

Album: Split

Label: Trepanation Recordings and Owl Ripper Recordings

Release Date: 12/11/2021

Country: United Kingdom and United States

It isn’t every day that you see so many bands/projects that you love come together to create a split album. Catafalque / Malvost / Bogwych / The Owl have all joined forces to create one monumental offering of experimental drone, noise and dark ambient.

3 of the 4 acts on this album have received regular coverage from CDM and it was much to our own dismay that we were not familiar with the 4th. Rather than leaving you guessing as to which is which I’ll just state that until this album I was not familiar with Bogwych, but I’m very glad that I now am.

Each act presents a single track on the split, for a total album length of just under an hour. Each of these songs is between 14 and 17 minutes in length and each takes their time to slowly unfold and evolve as they progress.

Catafalque opens the album with an almost ritual ambient type of track. The instrumentals are minimalistic and highly repetitive in an entrancing sort of way. Paired with that is constant fuzzy feedback in a droning sort of manner and monastic style lowly sung/chanted vocals. Overall, the track easily sucks the listener in and keeps them captivated throughout.

Malvost takes things in a slightly different direction and goes for a spacey, cavernous sort of vibe. There’s a vastness to this track that gives a feeling of utter desolation. Whispered black metal style vocals permeate through the reverberating void and haunt the listener. As is signature to the project’s style one keeps waiting for the track to pick up or reach some sort of crescendo, but it never does and that makes it that much more unsettling.

Next, we have Bogwych who present us a more doom drone type energy. The reverb is a little fuzzier and has a more definable rhythm to it. That doesn’t make it any less dark and unsettling. At times the reverb gets so dense that it feels inescapable and as if it has a weight to it. Through these moments shattered whispers, gasps, pained shrieks and hissing whispered black metal vocals fade into the mix. The song becomes what may be the darkest and most unsettling of the release and could easily feature in a horror movie soundtrack.

Lastly, we have The Owl with the closing track on the split. The song opens with a highly unsettling spoken word intro that really sets the tone for the rest of the song. Of the four songs on the album this delves the deepest into noise territory. Harsh distortion and feedback feature throughout the song along with sporadic, hammering, cavernous drum work. Pained, demented moans and shrieks slither out of the cracks in the music in between waves of swooning feedback. This sounds as if it was recorded in the padded walls of a psych ward and one can faintly heard the patients in the other room and has the emotional intensity of a mental breakdown.

Overall, this is one hell of a split and features some of the darkest and most unsettling drone/ambient music I’ve heard in some time. Be warned that this album weighs heavily upon the listener and go into this with that expectation.

Listen to and order the album:

Owl Ripper Recordings Bandcamp

Catafalque Bandcamp

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