Genre: Black Metal
Country: Greece
Label: Ill Damnation Productions
Year: 2015

Concept split releases are always risky: will they be thematically tight creations, or just a plain procession of songs? A fact determined by the degree of harmonious consistency among the participants’ visions. It is true that several “concept” split releases are nothing more than a collection of isolated tracks. Thankfully, “Moerae”, a collaboration between 3 Greek bands, is not part of this last category; it is imbued with a pure spirit of devotion to its theme, namely the 3 Fates of Greek mythology, aka the Moerae.

Awe, the split’s first contributing band, undertake the description and exaltation of Clotho, the Fate of Birth. There is almost no information about the group, beside the fact that this is the first entry in their discography. In “Clotho”, Awe indulge in schizophrenic black metal, its outset as blistering as a newborn’s first intake of birth. Cantankerous black metal, edging sometimes upon the orthodox sound (of Funeral Mist mostly), with a variation of speed and rhythm. Some Deathspell-esque (Paracletus era) touches can be heard in here, while majestic and melodic moments escalate in frequency as the track progresses; these moments being as holes in the permafrost of the song’s agony, reaching towards the psychedelic exodus. The weirdest of the split’s trio of songs.

This is the second discographic release of Vacantfield, the previous being 2011’s “Iteration” ep. In “Lachesis” the band pays homage to the namesake of the Moerae. The song is a bit more down-to-earth than “Clotho” – possibly so because of Lachesis’ character – and implements some hints of groove and thrash metal. The vocals here are quite passionate, both in the typical black metal incarnation, as well as in the Garm-like experimentation (building up quite a theatrical atmosphere). Vacantfield do not hesitate to use keyboards and prominent bass guitar, towards a grander ambience. A certain degree of medieval extravaganza reminded me of Tartaros and Limbonic Art. On the song’s second part, melody takes over for a while, leading to an extremely imposing finale, with “Lachesis is Risen!” cries amid a la Emperor nocturnal soundscapes.

End is definitely the most well-known of the participating bands, having already released 3 albums of sufficient quality. Their side of “Moerae” is “Atropos”, dedicated to She who cuts the thread of life. This last of the split’s songs is a bit more ritualistic in essence than the other two, while its lyrics are the less abstract among the triad. “Atropos” is the most ominous aspect of the album (a thing sensible if one thinks of this Moerae’s associations), although melodies are not absent from it. Some beautiful leads pave the way towards the cyclical (ouroboric) ending of “Moerae” (They call you death /And i call you/ Atropos The beginning).

“Moerae”, with a duration of just above 50 minutes (each track clocking up around the 17 minute track) is an impressive work of art. Its 3 parts are quite complex, with a multitude of thematic changes, and demand the listener’s attention. Lyrics are a way of bookmarking parts of such lengthy and diverse songs, and I made use of them in navigating the album. The cover artwork lives up to the music, and will grace masterfully June’s vinyl version. In conclusion, “Moerae” is a successful collaboration between the 3 bands, of solid concept character, which raises the expectations for its creators’ next discographic moves.

5/6