Swamp/Fetid Zombie – Necromantic Passages Split (2015)

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The first band in this split are Grecian black/thrashers Swamp who released their debut Underground Manifesto just last year. They seem to be bringing their A-game with this one, as the disc certainly sounds like a crushing, yet melodic effort in which thick grooves work to create a swampy sound, but the Sarcofago influence is still firmly in place. The songs actually have a bit of length to them, and utilize that time with some promising guitar sections, on which the intro and solo section of “Tormentor I” (4:22) come out beautifully. Frontman Nyarlathotep has a swamp monster scowl quite similar to my own, which of course comes out brilliantly in the music. “Inside The Catacombs Of The Undead” (4:20) only manages to further reinforce what I’ve said earlier, making for a truly memorable experience of drum blasts, exploding solos and some definite death metal excursions. In my opinion, I don’t really consider these guys black metal and I don’t think that you will either. There’s clearly a Cannibal Corpse meets Venom vibe, but I’m not too upset about that either. On the contrary, I’m quite enthralled.

The next band in the split is Virgina’s own Fetid Zombie. Though I’m new to these guys, they’ve been putting out slabs o’ death since 08′ and this is just another one of their many splits and full-lengths. The disc features some guest spots from members of Soulskinner, Where Evil Follows and the mighty Absu. As a matter of fact, Proscriptor performs all of the vocals on the second track here, “Oracle Of Death” (5:45.) Fetid Zombie don’t exactly sound as you’d think them though, because the music is a bit more structured and melodic than you’d imagine and even seems to co/me closer to black metal than anything related to death. The melodic leads on “Nymph Of Tartarus” (8:50) are truly awesome, with the calming keyboard synths sounding completely bizarre in the back of Mark Riddick’s growls. The man growls like something of an immense mass and size, the sort of thing that would trample you to bits and devour the remains. Once again, this is some of the most melodic death metal I’ve ever heard, and again – calling it death metal is a bit of a reach. A far reach. I don’t think the publicist knew what they were talking about when the labeled what can easily become a gentle acoustic session of triumphant ritual, if it doesn’t become a progressive jam session first. Just listening to this one means that I need more Fetid Zombie in my life, at least as long as they welcome all of this experimentation.

It’s tough to say who won this battle, because Swamp and Fetid Zombie are both incredible and vastly different acts. Melodically, Fetid Zombie has my vote. But let’s not forget about Swamp who does the death and thrash genre justice. Either way, this is a good half an hour split and The Grim Tower highly recommends it. Both bands are more than just promising.

(6 Tracks, 32:00)

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