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Black Vice / Haunter (Split Album Premiere)

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Most of the time I find myself approaching a split release with the intent of only hearing one half – in this case, I was excited to hear new Haunter – but, and this is a rarity, sometimes both halves work together in harmony. Did I expect to go into listening to this and walking away a Black Vice fan? No, but I feel more well-rounded for it. There is a lot of disappointment in black metal, friends throwing less-than-talented friends the proverbial bone and saturating the market to an even more mythical proportion, which makes more apt pairings like Black Vice and Haunter important in these days of “too much and too little.”

Opening the split is Black Vice. Granted, I wasn’t a big fan of them prior to this split. Last year’s Rituals of the Anti-Cosmic Doctrine was a little too on the “super raw and clumsy” side for my liking, but a complete lineup change gave these Texans a necessary facelift. This trio of songs offers a familiar approach to the “atmospheric” sound now locally indicative to bands from the United States, but there is an animalistic quality to Black Vice which is wholly endemic to them. Vocalist Daine Vineyard, also of Dead to a Dying World and Uruk, snarls, howls, and gurgles like a feral madman, breaking through the otherwise glorious walls of melodic sound and painting Black Vice’s mid-paced blast as something more inherently natural than the patchouli-rank masses otherwise associated with “nature black metal.”

Thrinodίa‘s unique, unhinged progression warranted itself a position as one of my favorite albums of last year, and Haunter certainly demonstrates their position as one of America’s most exciting new black metal acts. Though their full-length exercised balance between discomfort and release, the two songs on this split play the long game of tension. Riding out lengthy progressions of discord and anxiety, even the closest semblance of slow-paced fruition offers little respite. Even with Haunter concentrating on one half of their roaring existence, the visions of demo-era Leviathan, Arizmenda, and, yes, Opeth retain clarity.

Haunter and Black Vice’s split album will be available on vinyl in time for Austin, TX-based Red River Family Festival 2 in late September. Red River Family will be accepting pre-orders via their Bandcamp later today. Listen to the entire split below.

Follow Black Vice on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Follow Haunter on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Catch both Haunter and Black Vice, along with a larger selection of US black metal all-stars, at the upcoming second installment of the Red River Family Festival:

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