Premiere: Francis Root & Sconsacrata – Split

Sludge band Beggar dropped one of that genre’s finest albums in recent years in last year’s Compelled To Repeat, but now two of the band’s members are taking a step out into the chaotic realm of black metal through a split between their solo projects. Both artists waste no time getting to the meat of their sound, setting out their stalls as practitioners of particularly progressive forms of blackened extremity.

Francis Root (J. W. Leyland) heads up the split’s first half with four fierce bouts of expansive, ambitious black metal that’s all about atmosphere, at times driving forward with malice whilst at others being content to bask in something more doomy and unsettling. Chaotic compositions and touches of glitchy electronica make the split’s first half something truly fresh and exciting.

Meanwhile the split’s second half follows the intensity of the first but takes a different approach to get there, bathing in the grimy lo-fi production that frequently works so well for the genre. That’s not to say the sound Sconsacrata (C. M. Davis) is going for is any less ambitious though. Not only does it similarly make use of electronic flourishes, but it is also powered by a savage form of psychedelia, like a trip that went wrong from the start and isn’t showing any signs of getting better.

This new split truly makes for a thrilling introduction to two experimental new black metal projects, each with something intriguing up their sleeves. It’s fascinating to see the ways that both artists use this split as a playground for their ideas, each hinting at the greatness that surely is to come from them going forward.

Split is out 20th August on Trepanation Recordings. Order here.

Words: George Parr

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