Feb 242014

I’ve been following the progress of the Elemental Nightmares project since before it became public, writing about it for the first time in July 2013. It began as an effort to raise money for a subscription series of 13 splits on 7″ vinyl (with digital download options) featuring one exclusive song each by 26 up-and-coming bands from around the world. As the project evolved, the format has changed:

Last Friday, Elemental Nightmares announced that instead of releasing 13 splits with 2 songs per side, they will release 7 splits on 10″ vinyl, with each split containing four songs instead of two. And, because of the new format, there will be 28 bands instead of 26. In addition, as previously announced, Elemental Nightmares is offering the splits for sale on an individual basis, as well as subscriptions to the series as a whole, and the digital-only option is still available.

But the best news is the announcement that the project will happen. To see the names of the original 26 bands and for more info about purchase options, go here. The two new bands will be announced soon.

And finally, Friday also brought the premiere (by Invisible Oranges) of four songs that will appear on the fourth installment of the series, and it’s a damned strong way to start off: The bands are Porta Nigra (Germany), Membaris (Germany), Ashencult (Philadelphia), and Vuyvr (Switzerland).

“Devoured” is a good name for Vuyvr’s song, because that’s how you’ll feel after it’s through with you. It begins as a flesh-tearing rampage and then settles in to feed leisurely but no less voraciously. You may think you know where this song is going, but I’m betting you’ll be surprised, and it’s full of small touches and sounds that will keep you on your toes from beginning to end.

Ashencult’s “Metempsychosis:11” takes no prisoners either. It’s a raw, racing onslaught that thrashes, rocks, and exudes both palpable malignancy and the sense that the band is right on the edge of going up in a bonfire of self-immolation. It’s hyper-aggressive but still quite headbang-worthy.

Unlike the first two bands, whose talents I knew about from previous releases, Membaris is a new discovery. Their track “Neon” is just as jet-fueled as the first two songs on the split. It twists and turns with writhing, morbid riffs, agonizing shrieks, and a chorus of clean voices that add a folk vibe to the marauding. The song’s incandescent tremolo lead has a way of getting its hooks into your head, too.

Porta Nigra’s 2012 album Fin de Siècle was damned strong, and so is their contribution to the split: “Haut und Knochen”. At the beginning and at the end there’s a sense of being caught in a battlefield with no place to hide, but while the shrapnel continues to fill the air all the way through, the beat of the song slows and the atmosphere becomes strange and narcotic in the middle. The creative drum performance also comes very close to stealing the whole show.

In a nutshell, this split is like a pack of four black metal wolves running wild, but within each song lurks the glint of red-eyed intelligence. It’s not all gnashing teeth and flowing blood (though you’ll have fun running with them nonetheless).

Since the music streams are not embeddable, you need to go here to listen, and you should. Check out the grouping of bands on all the splits below:

1. Oak Pantheon / Wildernessking / Kess’khtak / Liber Necris
2. Terzij De Horde / Waning / Hyperial / Parasitized
3. Eternal Helcaraxe / Mondvolland / Septekh / Eventide
4. Porta Nigra / Membaris / Ashencult / Vuyvr
5. Harasai / Canopy / Obitus / Kall
6. Feared / Montecharge / Satyros / Dead River Runs Dry
7. Will of the Ancients / Stortregn / TBA / TBA


  1. Does anybody know how the digital aspect of this works? (I’ve got no use for vinyl.) I see a digital purchasing option, but not many details. Do the digital files release the same time-ish as the vinyl? What are the file formats?

    • The digital files are released at the same time as the physical copies are being sent out. The whole thing will be handled through Bandcamp, meaning that you will get a digital download code e-mailed to you and you can then choose the format that you wish to have your songs in. (Bandcamp offers songs in FLAC, ALAC, VBR MP3, 320 MP3, OggVorbis and AAC).

  2. Great tracks. Just might have to muster up enough cash for this thing.

  3. all four of those songs are killer, this is an awesome project!

  4. Despite my obvious self interest (my band is involved), I cannot wait for this, these first four songs sound amazing.

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