• Published January 23, 2014 By Robert
  • Categories Reviews

NegistanWhitehorseSplitOakland’s NEGATIVE STANDARDS turn in their best slab yet for this split. Despair-laden ambiance and a welcome return to the effective use of samples (an art seemingly left in 1998) crashes headfirst into a full frontal downtuned assault that puts absolutely everything on the table. Their power is in their diversity—both within tracks and between them. File this amongst heavyweights like COUNTERBLAST and SYSTRAL, with notable nods to modern black metal and gratuitous forays into noise interludes. On the flipside, Australia’s long-running doom masters WHITEHORSE do exactly what they do best: they crush you. A full side is sacrificed to one song, an exercise in patience and torture. Painfully slow devastation is tempered with electronic sound manipulations that eventually become the focal point instead of a mere distraction, as key to the overall impact as the guttural vocal bursts that sound like they are being removed from the singer as much as delivered by him. Whirlwind guitar leads start at about the six-minute mark—every time you submit, they add more torment. Dismiss this as another doom band record if you like, but it will be your loss.  (Vendetta Records)

—Robert Collins