BALMOG / DEATHROW – Odium Mors / Neverending Rain split (2009, Bloody Productions)

The skull:
Gracing the Balmog side of this split, here we have yet another skull doing service for Satan, particularly his servants Balmog. The skull sits humbly, looking bored, probably thinking “geez, how did I become yet another skull encircled in occult symbols and some Latin title. Why can’t I get a gig like that Axe Minister skull, or at least a steady paying gig with Black Label Society?” Nah, there isn’t much of note here, especially that we haven’t seen before, but he sports a nice set of upper choppers, more than making up for the complete lack of lower ones.

The music:
Balmog’s “Odium Mors” track is quite good. These Spaniards have studied their mid-paced Gorgoroth, as this song has that Infernus-style guitar scraping, something both caustic and sweeping in its diabolical tone. Vocals are varied and on the lower side of the scale, avoiding the patented screech most black metal vocalists skate by on. (There are moments that reference Attila Csihar’s work on Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, although no one has ever successfully captured that particular vibe). The recording is clear, powerful and crisp, bringing plenty of darkness despite its pro-recorded slickness. It’s not an anemic Dimmu Borgir-slick or anything, but it is remarkable that an obscure black metal band are recording this kind of material with this sort of production aesthetic. Derivative of Gorgoroth and Mayhem, then, but pretty good regardless. Reviewing the Deathrow side of the split isn’t mandatory, sayeth the Council, since their artwork is sans skull. And I prefer to ignore them, since they ignored the fact that there were two bands of note bearing the Deathrow (or Death Row) name prior to their existence, and 1) if they knew that but chose to overlook it, they’re idiots, and 2) If they don’t know who the German Deathrow is, they’re idiots.
— Friar Wagner