Review: Loathfinder/Druj – Aspects of Oblation

Last November the Polish record label Godz ov War Productions released a split between two bands that we’ve already wrote about on DutchMetalManiac earlier: the Polish band Loathfinder en the US band Druj. This split release is titled Aspects of Oblation and contains three Loathfinder tracks and two Druj tracks. For Loathfinder, of which the line-up is very difficult to figure out, this split is their second release after their 2017 released debut EP, titled The Great Tired Ones, which we reviewed here. For Druj, consisting of guitarist/bass player/vocalist S.H. and drummer W.T., this split is their third release, following up on their 2017 debut EP, titled The Malignant Dweller, and their 2018 debut full-length album, titled Chants to Irkalla, which we reviewed here.

It’s up to Loathfinder to kick off Aspects of Oblation with their three tracks, starting with Soil of the Starving. They immediately start full throttle before slowing it down a bit, step by step, during this opening track. However, they do so without giving in to any brutality, it may even become a bit more brutal due to this. The drums pound very heavily and sound very powerful, something that especially stands out in Loathfinder’s last contribution to this split, The Ugliest Crown. Those powerful drums combined with the at times very nicely humming bass, such as in Soil of the Starving and that same The Ugliest Crown, are creating a very solid basis. Guitar-wise we’ll regularly hear lingering, sludgy guitars, such as in Soil of the Starving and The Ugliest Crown, that are quite low-tuned, but are sometimes joined by some higher sounding guitars that are adding some more depth, such as in the second half of Soil of the Starving, of which the end is very slow, calm and doomy, which seems to be a sign for the following, and perfectly overflowing, track XXIX, of which the start is droning, dark-ambienty, atmospheric and calm, but also including a creepy vibe due to the addition of some creepy sounds. In case you are listening to this album on your mp3-player while you’re walking in abandoned places in the night and you’re easily frightened, you probably better skip XXIX. Vocally Loathfinder mainly delivers very deep grunts, that especially stand out in XXIX, due to its instrumental part being quite calm, despite the fact that XXIX has a lot less vocals in general compared to the other two Loathfinder tracks. There are also some screams to be heard in Loathfinder’s tracks, such as some very terrifying screams at the end of XXIX, some quite filthy screams during the second half of Soil of the Starving, while the screams a bit after halfway into The Ugliest Crown sound quite desperate. In addition to that there are also some whispers to be heard at the end of Soil of the Starving and during the start of The Ugliest Crown. The production of Loathfinder’s part of Aspects of Oblation is very well-done, which makes everything sound even more doomy, heavy and brutal.

Since we’ve ended Loathfinder’s part of Aspects of Oblation with its production, we’ll start writing about the production of Druj’s part of this split. That’s, compared to Loathfinder’s tracks, production-wise much more raw, which makes everything sound quite shrill, making it having less impact, at least on me. That really is a shame, also because I expected it to be otherwise since I reviewed Druj’s Chants to Irkalla album, which has a production that sounds much heavier and impressing with a lot more depth in it. That kind of production fits Druj’s music a lot better in my opinion. Especially the extensive use of cymbals in both Druj’s tracks, Thee Insatiable Fever and Divulge, attracts much attention, which doesn’t make these two tracks in their entirety less shrill. Due to the extensive use of those cymbals and the production of these two tracks it all seems to sound somewhat chaotic. In addition to that, the very deep grunts seems to be mixed a bit too much in the background. Guitar-wise we’ll mainly hear constantly sawing guitars, with at some moments a bit more lingering guitars, such as in Divulge, or a bit more chuggy sound, such as in Thee Insatiable Fever.

Druj’s part of Aspects of Oblation isn’t very bad, but I prefer the heavier, deeper Druj-sound like I’ve heard on Chants to Irkalla. On the other hand, Loathfinder’s part of Aspects of Oblation is very impressing, making this the much stronger side of this split in my opinion. Anyway, this split is surely worth checking out. And speaking of Druj: maybe this much rawer production is something you prefer. And in case you don’t, then be sure to check their Chants to Irkalla album!

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