If the two songs on this new split aren’t a perfect match, I don’t know what is. It’s not that they’re twins, not even fraternal twins. It’s that they complement each other so beautifully. I don’t know to what extent the artists shared their ideas before completing the compositions, but the experience of listening to the two songs together is so enthralling that you might think they were working together through a Vulcan mind meld.
Entitled Alone Among Mirrors, the split consists of one song by Black Mare, the solo project of L.A. musician Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini, Black Math Horseman), and one song by Offret, the solo project of Russian musician Andrey Prokofiev. It was released just yesterday on 7″ vinyl and digitally by Dark Operative.
According to Dark Operative, Black Mare’s “Woman the Throne” was “conceived, written, and recorded around the sessions that produced the Death Magick Mother full length album”. The song casts a haunting spell from the first reverberations of the strings, and becomes even more spellbinding as Timms‘ voice wails above the spectral guitar melodies. The warmth of the bass gives the music an earthy grounding, but there’s an edge of tension and turmoil in the song, a feeling of uneasiness and pain in this spell that lingers.
As far as I know, Offret’s song on this split is the project’s first release since the debut self-titled EP in 2016 (reviewed here), which I thought was brilliant. The EP proved Offret’s ability to range far and wide among musical and vocal styles, from dark, haunting acoustic numbers to heavy, extreme metal. Offret’s song on this split is similarly diverse.
“Мы тебя ждём” (“We are waiting“) develops in stages, beginning with deep droning tones and ambient shimmering. And in that way it links arms with the haunting chill of Black Mare’s track, its ominous and otherworldly atmosphere becoming even more pronounced as Prokofiev’s voice enters the frame — chanting, whispering, and scraping — along with a cavernous, abrasive bass riff.
When the drums arrive, booming and snapping in a powerful, pneumatic drive you can feel in your bones, the song becomes dramatically heavier and darker. As in Black Mare’s song, there’s a feeling of tension in this one, and Offret coils the spring more and more tightly as his voice elevates in agony and as the guitar and a saxophone flicker, swirl, spiral, and wail, like a bereaved spirit that has lost its bearings.
Like Black Mare’s song, this one is also spell-binder, and it too lingers in the mind after the silence finally arrives.