On Friday of this week, the 28th of July, two New York based black metal bands whose music we’ve covered here before — Teloch Vovin and Viserion — will release a new split entitled The Iron Age of Kali Yuga, available on CD and digital formats from both bands and featuring artwork by Elena Vasilaki. On Friday night they’ll also participate in a listening party for the songs at Duff’s Brooklyn.
A pair of songs from the split, one from each band, have already surfaced, but what we bring you today is a full stream of the entire split — essentially one new EP from each group. They will serve as a fine introduction to these bands for people who haven’t encountered their music before, and for existing fans it provides a portrait of where their music has arrived in the current day (though it will undoubtedly continue to evolve).
As usual, we’ll share our own thoughts about the split as a preview of the listening experience, along with some insights from the bands themselves, and we’ll take them in alphabetical order.
Following a pair of debut EPs and a live recording, Teloch Vovin (named for Samael, “The Dragon ov Death”) released a debut album (Further Down the Tunnel) in 2015, but since then have released a long 10-part sequence of singles under the name Psalms of Chaos, followed by a split with Florida’s Grave Gnosis and some additional singles. For the new split you’re about to hear, they’ve contributed seven songs, and introduce them with these words:
“Teloch Vovin’s side of The Iron Age of Kali Yuga split CD entitled “Elohim Acherim” is a descent into Divine Madness. Through it we dig deeper into the musical burial grounds from which we sprang forth with songs like “Teloch Vovin” and “An Eastern Temple” while exploring new musical dimensions with the song “Dragon Sworn” as well as adding in some ov the Ritual Black Ambient aspects ov our “Psalms ov Khaos” tracks to present a totally immersive audio hallucination to destroy your mind.”
Consistent with that preview, Teloch Vovin‘s seven songs create a collective 23-minute experience that branches in different directions and becomes entwined with stylistic ingredients beyond black metal.
Preparing the way with a ritualistic ambient prelude, they then violently sear the senses with the eponymous “Teloch Vovin”, a tyrannical storm of raw sizzling riffage, maniacally battering percussion, heavy bass permutations, and furious proclamations expelled in screams and roars. “Keys to the Void” provides a time to lower your pulse rate, conjoining voices in the frame of haunting Gregorian chants and classical strings with frightening consequences.
The branching continues with the brazen heavy-metal chords of “Dragon Spawn“, which fashions a haughty, imperious march before convulsing in thrashing madness. That one is a long song, and the band use the 10 1/2 minutes to create a fearsome occult pageant, one that includes esoteric Hindu melodies that connect to the title of the split, as well as fanged and fanatical vocals, martial drum patterns and riotous fills, and devilishly flickering leads. It’s an exotic and sinister trip, but one that reveals episodes of blazing infernal grandeur.
The strange ambient tones and chanting voices of “Bells of Perdition” create another connection to the title of the split, but in a different and more ritualistic way, and that’s followed by the storming, swaggering, and savage assault of “An Eastern Temple“, though there again the musical traditions of the Indian subcontinent become evident, swirling and writhing around vocals that sound possessed by the lords of Hell.
Teloch Vovin close their side of the split with “Death’s Pentagrammaton“, another combining of ambient sounds and scary vocals that take one last opportunity to put the frighteners on you.
Teloch Vovin’s material for the split was produced by founder Grigori, engineered/recorded/mixed by Antonio (Ash) Padilla, and mastered by Mike Usifer at Aural Assault Studio.
Viserion (who took their name from Game of Thrones‘ resurrected ice dragon) hail from Queens. They made their recording advent with the Death Dealer EP in 2020, followed that with their debut album Natural Selection the next year, and then released the immersive and nightmarish single “Reborn in Darkness” the year after that (which we had the pleasure of premiering).
For their side of the new split they include “Reborn in Darkness” as well as the songs “Abandoned” and “Fathers“. They tell us this:
“We in Viserion are thrilled to release our split with our friends in Teloch Vovin. As the first EP with our new lineup, we are excited to showcase our new material and its reflection of our musical progression.”
As we’ve written before, “Reborn in Darkness” is a story about rebirth, inspired by the character Oryx from the video game Destiny. It portrays the malice and heinous ferocity of its protagonist through a fusion of death metal, black metal, and hints of grindcore.
As it opens, crazed vocals and viciously drilling riffage backed by metronomic drums and a heaving bass create a feeling both abysmal and deranged. As the song moves ahead, a wall of fleet, cruel-sounding fretwork rises, becoming more feverish. Gruesome bellows intrude. The drums erupt in manic bursts. The lead guitar flickers in spasms. As the viciously vibrating chords undulate, rising and falling, the music cycles in a way that brings in feelings of terror and pain. Bleakness eventually trades places with violence, and there is no reprieve.
If anything, the whirring riffage in “Abandoned” (which includes a guest vocal appearance by Xenomorph) is even more dismal and distressing in its moods. Raw and reaping, the guitars seem to wail and writhe in agony, coupled with the shattering intensity of the screamed vocals. The guitars also express grim, pulsating tones that raise the hackles on the neck, and they also elevate, pierced by frightening leads, as if revealing the awful splendor of pain.
It will come as no surprise to learn that Viserion‘s closer, “Father” (which includes guest vocals by “Protagony“), is also deleterious to the state of the soul. The melodies, which come in vibrating waves, channel the weight of severe burdens, and boil over into the sweeping heat of despair. As that happens, the rhythm section maintain a strong grip on the listener’s reptile brain, and the multi-toned throat-ripping vocals are intensely tormented.
The chords also chime like scarred bells, as if pleading for some kind of rescue, but torrid demon-chants and furious drums offer no hope. It’s a bit of a shock when all the shattering intensity vanishes near the end, replaced by a beautifully plaintive solo piano melody, but there’s no hope there either.
Viserion‘s’s half of The Iron Age Of Kali Yuga was recorded at Level Up Recording Studios by David Melendez, except for “Fathers”, which was recorded at 2525 Studios, produced by Gil Vives and Janan Kerry.
As mentioned at the outset, the two bands will celebrate the release of the split with a hometown release party at Duff’s Brooklyn, hosted by Ed Farshtey of Armageddon Productions (formerly of Book Of Armageddon Fanzine, Rage Records, Wendigo Productions, and more). Viserion‘s side of the split is going to be played at 10 pm; Teloch Vovin‘s side will be played at 1 1pm, and the entire record will be played again at 12:30 am.