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Black Metal

Palace of Worms/Mastery –
Split Review + Free Download

One man black metal is hardly the newest trend on the block yet it’s always been the remit of the more well known types on the scene – Burzum, Leviathan and by extension Lurker of Chalice, the now, sadly, defunct Xasthur, Arckanum….just a few of many projects that chose the path of solidarity and a subject that was recently looked at in a recent documentary series.

Palace of Worms and Mastery are two such ventures and here they release a split cassette via Flenser Records – available to order here – of clashing noise, beautiful intensity and icy stabs of hatred. Palace of Worms hails from San Francisco, and Balan can be occasionally be found playing with Larvae and Ordo Obsidium when he’s not writhing with agony and pure misanthropic resolve with his solo project.

The four new Palace of Worms tracks on this cassette are devastatingly involving – their hidden soul sits behind scything guitar work and harshly raged vocal lines. Stuttering bursts of true loveliness filter through the despair and flights of sorrow peak out from beneath veils of shadow to enclose you in a darkness wrought with misery. “Acheronian Pall” is cold and demanding, and Palace of Worms flitters between harshness and majesty with an oppositional and powerful force and more than a knowing nod the masters of the second wave. Balan’s vocal takes on an alien and clean sound for the closing steps of the song and Palace of Worms suddenly takes on a whole new dimension of inhumanity with a technique that was unexpected in its clarity.

“Alien Body, Alien Mind” swiftly rails into blasts of strength and curiously off-kilter tones of guitar. The landscape is one of utter destruction yet behind the maelstrom there is often a sweetly melodic guitar line that dares breath a melancholic atmosphere into the otherwise frozen tones of this side of the split.

Palace of Worms and Mastery. Don’t play with fire kids.

Mastery provides the wickedly titled “Egregorian Synapse” and it’s a track full of utter and total spite. The delightfully named Ephemeral Domignostika (Pale Chalice – who 100% need to be checked out immediately, and Pandiscordian Necrogenesis – goes without saying) is another Bay Area based musician who throws all the hate in the world into one rage-fueled, eight minute ode to woe. The trippy drum beat does much to give the song an aura of the early-90s school of black metal thinking and adds a distinctly punk vibe to proceedings (think latter day Darkthrone) whilst holding on to memories of snow-riven plains and the blackened heart of the motherland. Moments of sudden change puncture the pace of the song and Ephemeral Domignostika spills his unadulterated bile across permafrost-laden riffs and off-kilter time changes. Unfortunately, only one Mastery track is released on this split cassette and you’re left wanting, needing more. Let us pray to the dark Lord himself that it’s not another few years before we hear from this cult again.

The Palace of Worms track “Disconsolate Flight (Death Carries Me)” and the Mastery song “Egregorian Synapse” is streaming on CVLT Nation now.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sanctus Profanum

    December 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Excellent review. Easily one of my favorite releases of 2012. The bands listed above are worth checking out, trust me.  666

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