Thaw and Echoes of Yul are a couple of experimental metal acts from Poland, and on August 4th they’ll be releasing a split with Polish independent record label Instant Classic. Both bands only get 1 song to work with, but as they clock in at 14 and 25 minutes each, you’ll still be getting your money’s worth. Each band takes a distinctive approach to slow, atmospheric black metal, but in both cases the results are well-executed, and deliberate to the point of hypnosis.
Side A (if we might call it that) features “Earth Grounded” by Thaw. While previous Thaw releases much more closely resemble a more traditionally recognizable brand of black metal, “Earth Grounded” foregoes demon vocals and blast beats (almost) entirely, devoting itself instead to a continually swelling and shifting palette of sound all set atop a single, endlessly repeating, “We Will Rock You”-esque rhythmic motif. Despite the undeniable heaviness of the song, it’s ethereal and industrial in such a way that I could imagine it on a remix album for The Fragile. Its slow development, variety of texture, and self-imposed snail pace are anything but aimless, and the result is an altogether captivating effect. I meditated to this song, and it worked. Take that, Om.
On the flip side we find Echoes of Yul’s “Asemic”. While the song is even longer than “Earth Grounded”, and takes just as leisurely an approach to song development, this one quickly struck me as the more terrestrial of the two. It’s slow and spacey as all get out, but at the end of the day it’s not quite as obsessed with the atmospheric; its guitars are right up front, and there’s no doubt that they’re guitars. There are plenty of other sounds that float in and out, but a stronger case could be made for this song being a logical extension of doom metal, rather than some completely foreign entity newly landed from the outer reaches. Echoes of Yul does a great job of layering new sounds over distorted guitars to erect massive walls of heavy, and the result is a nice bridge between doom/stoner/drone prototypes, and the atmospheric metal which seems to be an increasingly present force in today’s heavy music. The song also has a really beautiful outro which closes things wonderfully.
Go to Instant Classic’s Bandcamp page to pre-order the split in either CD or digital form.