Artist: Svinfylking / Isataii
Release Title: Svinfylking / Isataii
Label: Nithstang Productions
Release Date: 24 March 2023
Location: Tampa, Florida
Digital Price: Name your price
This is a split between two great American black metal projects. There are four tracks by Svinfylking, and four by Isataii. The quality of a good split album can often be determined by how well the two artists mesh together when listening to both sides of the split in a single session shoutout to Froglord vs Bog Wizard for a great example of a high-quality split. I’m pleased to say that Svinfylking and Isataii have delivered a quality split album indeed. There’s four tracks by each, so let’s take a look at their contributions.
Svinfylking brings some little hints of punk sensibility to the table on this split, with the drumwork sometimes feeling more at home in a hardcore punk track than in typical black metal such as in some earlier moments of By Bullet, by Blade, by Hand, by Rope. You’re not going to really hear blast beats here. Instead,there’s a more emotional pacing to the drumwork, varying between the faster-paced punkish stuff, to some of that classic simple black metal drumming that serves to augment the anguished riffs crying out in pain.
All the while, Agerius brings some good, no-nonsense black metal vocals with lyrics that strike me as a little folksy and a little punk in their reflection about everyday traumas and frustrations. Six Shots in Idaho is a great example of black metal with the frustration of everyday people, and it’s followed by All Our Fathers’ Sorrows which seems to keep that grounded feel with a bit of the thematic mystery that good black metal often maintains.
The other four tracks here are delivered by Isataii. Isataii are a Native American project with Little Wolf Galarza at the center.Immediately once I hear their first track on the split, Sickness is Life (The Second Coming) I know this is going to be some enjoyable black metal. I’m not often one for the raw kind of black metal as I love it when I can tease out each aspect of the recording in detail, focus on all the elements and their contributions to the whole.
Sometimes a project can be so raw that in submerging everything in the chaos of the genre, we lose a certain something. But instead, Isataii keeps the guitar central and never takes away from its position in the mix. These are instrumentally simple tracks but that doesn’t make them shallow because the mix layers everything in a way that creates a strong feeling of musical and thematic progression throughout all four tracks. There’s more than meets the eye with Isataii, and I’m here for it.
I’m not going to spend any longer proselytizing the album. It’s eight tracks of good, solid black metal, ranging from charged punky vibes to good old traditional black metal. There’s plenty of mystery, emotion and misery here, and it’s worth your time.
I hope you enjoy this Svinfylking / Isataii split.