Noise and black metal, a combination that is almost guarantied to be successful. Both genres are centered around the same or similar themes; death, evil, discord, chaos, and general unpleasantness. Even the music sounds somewhat the same, at least to some people. Even though the genres share the same philosophies and sound, there haven’t been THAT many splits from noise/BM-bands. Mostly from the fringe edges of both genres, and the bands that try to make a fusion with the genres often end up with a bland mess, than with something stunning. Maybe its because the inherent chaos and discord in both the styles means that neither of them can get along, or that both of them are too dominant so just one becomes audible; which is what has happened to this cassette, sadly.
Law of the Rope (side A) is a black metal band from Los Angeles and have released three full length albums since 2008, Crown of Bone (side B) is a noise project by Dustin Allan Redington, or to cite his words: “✝Indiana Blackened Noise Worship, The Crossbones of America✝“. I haven’t listened to either of their earlier work, so let’s just start from side A and if you want more background info on the bands, Google is your roman Mercury.
Law of the Rope might seem like your ordinary USBM band from the late 00’s and to a certain extent, you’re correct. Lo-fi, muddled, and screams for hell, you know, the usual stuff. Which isn’t necessarily bad, and their music on this cassette is very nice and black. It’s not just blast beats all the way through either, they mix it up with some calmer parts, a bit dark ambient. However, the raw energy and chaos of the noise genre is not present. I would like to have seen a bit more of a mix, since it is a split after all.
And on side B, Crown of Bone does the usual harsh noise violence stuff. Very rough, very unpleasant, and very chaotic. I especially like the end of the side where it sound like the whole cassette might fall apart. But my problem with Law of the Rope’s side is present with Crown of Bone, it’s just power violence. It’s just too separated, A for black metal, and B for noise. It could just have been two album instead. There is no connecting thread musically, it’s just surface level. And this problem I feel is present in other splits between the genres, I haven’t heard a good mix of the two, except for maybe Jute Gyte, or Venowl.
Despite the spearation, both sides are good at what they do and it is ultimately a pleasant listen. So if you are starved for harsh noise and/or lo-fi black metal, give this a try. (or just listen to some Voltur)