I really liked Myrkr; when they came out Black Metal was not in such a good moment as it is now, and they cast some good and strong releases. But I would lie if I said I miss them or I'm sorry they stopped their activities, because that made Mr. Joseph Deegan focus on his other project, Slidhr, which has proved to be an even more interesting and personal entity. Their first demo and EP may not have been that groundbreaking, even if they contained some very dark tunes, but from their split with Rebirth of Nefast, and especially on their first album, 'Deluge' (when Bjarni Einarsson from Wormlust/Sinmara joined the band on drums), they've turned into a whole new and more interesting entity.
'Spit of the Apostate', which was released around a year ago (although the vinyl came out just in April 2016), is the natural progression we could expect from such a monumental release as 'Deluge' was. They keep the path taken on that album, with a brand of Black Metal that is as ferocious as introspective and atmospheric, set in a harsh and drowning ambiance where we can find traces of several branches of the genre (from Swedish and French dissonant waves to some rawer approaches) and which can show similitudes too with some of the other bands that have emerged from the Terratur Possessions roster; also some slight Death Metal leanings show their face and have some impact on the intensity of the three new songs, which are probably the reason why I've found myself several times thinking about such bands as Hate Forest, Ellorsith or even Grave Miasma.
All in all, the differences between this EP and their first album are more in the details than on the basis of their sound, but affected the result is such a way that the progression is quite remarkable. And that, the sound, is actually the point that distinguishes this recording the most from its predecessor. Slidhr managed to deliver something that is even more sinister, maybe due to their compositions progressing more naturally and generating an improved overall entrancing effect, and also more organic and striking. On the later, I definitely think Mr. Bjarni should get some recognition, as his job on the skins is very well crafted, not due to being the most technically or brutally impressive drummer I've ever heard, but for how well he chooses his parts, no matter if what is needed are blastbeats or a slower and groovier part. He's actually very present on the mix, and blows a big amount of energy into Slidhr's cold sound. The vocal lines of Joseph are quite intense and varied as well (without going too far from what's usual in the genre), especially on the first song on face B, where he combines his powerful and deeper tone (just as a sonic representation of the wolf on the cover) with some screaming voices coming from the depths.
I would also add, in addition to the previous mention to the more organic sound of this release, or maybe as a result of it, that they turn out a bit less cold and dehumanized in comparison to 'Deluge'. They still make you feel like being in the middle of an icy storm, but in a slightly more brutal and lacerating way. Maybe it's the change of studio (although it's the same guy taking care of the recording, Mr. S. "Wann" Lockhart, aka Rebirth of Nefast), maybe it's something else, but when I put the vinyl on the turntable I get a way more intense feeling in comparison to the cold and slightly mechanical atmosphere I got from 'Deluge'.
This is without the shadow of a doubt the best Slidhr recording so far, they have found their personality, their sound and their form and they have refined it until they got the most polished and raw core of what they aim for. And these three songs end up being just too short, as the ideas they represent could have very well been explored further in order to form a fantastic album. In case you didn't know, they recently released a split EP with another Black Metal monster as is Acherontas, although I still haven't had the chance to give it a proper listen.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.