EZAYAH — Passages from the Dark Side (review)

EZAYAH — Passages from the Dark Side album cover Split · 2010 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
Vehemency
Passages from the Dark Side presents three demo level atmospheric / depressive black metal bands hailing from Turkey. I’m always open for new discoveries within black metal and Turkish such is quite an obscure area for me, but according to this split, I’m not really convinced.

Ezayah opens the album with a grandiose intro and ”In the Woods” which is the most traditional black metal song on the whole disc with its high-pitched screams, tremolo riffage and (programmed) blast beats. There’s a slight sense of Xasthur’s eeriness in the music as well as Lucifugum’s evilness, but not quite on the same level of quality. The song leaves me a little unimpressed, just passing by as a song that sounds unfinished, mostly due to the cheap drum sound.

Valefor presents depressive black metal to the bone, programmed drums pulsate nicely and a lot more fittingly than on the fast tempos of Ezayah. Vocals are high-range wailings à la Mortualia’s debut and Heartless from China, which might turn off some of the listeners. I, however, think they’re a nice feature despite the somewhat comical style. Compositionally, the two long songs bring nothing out of the ordinary for a depressive / suicidal black metal listener, so you are not losing much if you don’t hear these simple songs where distorted guitar melodies are picked at slow pace with some lead melodies on top.

The best of the three bands is saved to the end when Zenith Maudlin kicks in with the cavernous funeral doom atmosphere on ”Murdered Within Nothingness”. I’m getting minor vibes of Elysian Blaze but this is something more chaotic, but definitely well done. On top of the murderous low-tuned guitars and murky percussion screeches some violent noises, until an ambient section takes hold for a while. ”After Poisoned Seven Minutes” leans, unfortunately, toward a more general depressive black metal sound, but is nonetheless above the other two bands on the split.

I can’t say I would recommend Passages from the Dark Side to many unless you’re a hardcore explorer of Turkish black metal. Ezayah’s and Valefor’s appearance here leaves me cold, but Zenith Maudlin on the other hand impresses. Still, as I have to give an overall star rating for the split, the score remains low.
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