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Selvans / Downfall of Nur (Split Album Premiere)

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I feel like I’ve touched on this before, but good, and I mean good, split pairings are few and far between nowadays. Having proven their worth in the oversaturated world of Internet-age atmospheric black metal, Avantgarde Records powerhouses Selvans and Downfall of Nur team up in a concept album which is both collaborative and a split release. Centering around the Sun and Moon’s ceremony of opposites, this duo’s scathing, beautiful takes on black metal both complement and supplement each other.

Bookended with two collaborative ambient, folk-inspired songs, theme-appropriately titled “SOL” and “LUNA”, which are both beautiful, lush, and cinematic, the true stas of this release are the individually band-led “Pater Surgens” (Father Rising) and “Mater Universi” (Universi). Tipping the scale toward the Mediterranean sunrise is Selvans – whose sorely underappreciated Lupercalia helped redefine public’s perception of “symphonic black metal” and “quality”‘s significant overlap last year. Fitting their half of the album’s concept, in this case the rising Sun, Selvans’s energetic, vicious black metal is truly ascendant. The duo of Sethlans Fulguriator and Selvans Haruspex had initially made a name for themselves for their teetering balance of black metal’s hyperactive, blasting, animalistic elements (their name roughly means “forests”) with an ear for the large, stately, and dramatic, which is, admittedly, difficult to balance. Luckily, “Pater Surgens” is a crowd-pleaser, and Selvans more than successfully whets both elements. Lupercalia‘s moon-worship was wolf-like and bared big, frightening teeth, but sunlight truly makes this duo brilliant, and the surprisingly “bright” sound here is fitting.

Argentina’s Downfall of Nur answers the rising sun with their glorious, absolutely stunning “Mater Universi.” Sole musician A.’s talent at orchestration was solidified on the monolithic Umbras de Barbagia, whose folky, atmospheric brilliance left many mouths agape, and, like Selvans, A. took his musical talents to a new level. “Mater Universi” is an absolutely stunning work and builds upon itself with tragic glory. The preceding sunrise was bombastic and bright, but Downfall of Nur’s answer is much more subtle and moves in waves. Separate movements of ecstatic black metal and somber, deliberate folk ebb and flow under the weight of A.’s musical effulgence. This is moving music, emotional almost to a fault – certain moments quite literally stopped me in my tracks so I could adequately catch up. In this split, Selvans and Downfall of Nur witness the birth and death of a day – something we used to worship and fear – and remind us of the drama and majesty of something we experience without much thought.

Avantgarde Music will release Selvans and Downfall of Nur’s gorgeous pairing on CD this upcoming November 7th, with vinyl in the weeks to follow. The gold vinyl sold out rather (extremely) quickly, but there is still time for the analog fanatics. Listen to the full split below.

Follow Selvans on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Follow Downfall of Nur on Bandcamp and Facebook.

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