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Hallowed Butchery : Batillus / Hallowed Butchery

This split LP between Hallowed Butchery and Batillus showcases some of the slightly harder to classify Doom bands coming out of the US scene.

Released in 2010, this split LP showcases some of the slightly harder to classify Doom bands coming out of the US scene.

New York’s Batillus have often been described as a darker doomier Pelican, and this is appropriate especially considering the lack of vocals on their earlier work. The songs on this split do include some rough vocals however, helping to expand their sound a bit. Batillus play a driving trance-inducing form of Doom with plenty of rhythmic and melodic changes, somewhat riding the fine line between Doom and Post-Metal. In my opinion, they are too dark and heavy to be anything other than a Doom band, and the addition of wrenched screams to their music solidifies this.

The Batillus side of the split contains three tracks at about 8 minutes each. The first comparison I personally drew was to Neurosis, in particular their last studio record ‘Given to the Rising’. The dark slow to midpaced riffs mesh well with twangy, very American passages. The second track ‘The Children of the Night Make Their Music’ is the least heavy and has a long introductory passage which leads into heavy sludgy riffs and screams. Each of the songs features sections where the riffs break down and are built up again in different forms, often with similar themes. Again, the most important aspect of their music is the driving rhythms, and it is for this reason that Batillus is sometimes described as a Drone band, though I would not quite agree. While their mix of post-metal, black metal, and doom metal is often hypnotic, their pension (propensity) for changes in tempo and style within the structure of a particular piece is hardly comparable to the utter minimalism of Sunn O))) for example. I would recommend Batillus to the fans of Thou, although they are quite a bit simpler overall. Batillus are well on their way to crafting their own sound by approaching Doom from a varied stand point, drawing influence from many sources rather than trying to stick to a sound already perfected by other bands in the past.

While Batillus take multiple styles and fit them together into a cohesive whole that becomes their general sound, Hallowed Butchery do essentially the opposite, by producing long disjointed pieces with completely disparate styles being pieced together to form a whole. This was my first exposure to Maine’s Hallowed Butchery and it is one of the more eccentric one-man bands I have heard in a few years.

While there are two tracks on the Hallowed Butchery side, they go together as one very long song as the 'Introduction' track is only two and a half minutes and the second ‘Coffin Life’ is almost fourteen. The piece begins with some heavy, fast, and angry sludge complete with profanities, screaming, and heavy palm muting. After a few minutes, the pace slows down immensely, the screams are more wrenched, and some sinister keyboards and samples have appeared. Just as the listener becomes used to the idea of the song going essentially from Crowbar-esque Sludgecore to extreme Sludge à la Moss the song completely shifts gears. At the six minute mark it is now a soft folk song, almost reminding me of Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’. Finally, the song again changes to a faster more melodic Metal sound, first with clean vocals and then with screams. This final section is the longest and reminds me a lot of Bathory with catchy riffs, sound effects, and a somewhat raw production. The final minutes contain some odd keyboard lines that seem somewhat out of place, but this fits in with the overall feel of the band.

I can tell not everyone will take fondly to the Hallowed Butchery side because of just how disjointed it is, but I personally really enjoyed it. Perhaps I simply get bored easily, but the prospect of a band creating a song that essentially bastardizes several styles into one disjointed mess, but makes it work well, is quite exciting to me. They are one of the stranger and therefore more unique bands currently playing in metal.

Overall I would definitely recommend this split to anyone interested in experimental doom from the current crop of bands springing up in the US. If you find yourself bored by bands that do not possess their own signature sound, check this thing out.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Batillus - The Division
2. Batillus - The Children of the Night Make Their Music
3. Batillus - Beyond the River
4. Hallowed Butchery - An Introduction
5. Hallowed Butchery - Coffin Life

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Hallowed Butchery bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-09-07 by Justin Mank
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