Release: 15 October 2018
Label: Beverina Productions
Casus Belli has been churning out quality music and now in cooperation with Beverina are issuing forth a killer split album from two of Spain’s finest in Crystal Moors and Hordak.
First off, kudos for doing a split which I still think is a viable musical entity. So, when I say split album I could almost really say split EP as there are a total of 5 track here. The plot thickens though when it is investigated a little more as Crystal Moors gives us 4 tracks totaling 20 minutes and Hordak putting 1 epic 20-minute track together for a total of 40 minutes, so I would call this a proper album. Let’s start with the 4 tracks from Crystal Moors which if you are unfamiliar with them offer a nice cross section of what they do. There part of the split is entitled “Arguma” also known as Ulex Europaeus which is a plant with strong roots, representing the resiliency of the Cantabrian people (a section of northern Spain they call home) I guess I would call them pagan metal for the most part with some folky touches here and there, most notably thru the acoustic guitar. One thing that stands out is that they have tracks in both English and Spanish which usually most band can’t do…..something always suffers for most bands by doing this but CM can do either/or equally well. Opening track “Hijos Del Sol” (“Children Of The Sun”) shows the acoustic guitar and then into the electric and heavier stuff. Nothing really crazy here as far as tempos (although some blast beating is found) or riffing but super solid including the winding fretless bass. The two other remaining tracks are in English (“With The Eyes Towards The Moon” and “Into The Second Punic War”) with the remaining track being the acoustic instrumental “Llaranza” which has violin and some bouzoki as the main solo and riffing devices and I would say is the folkiest track here. All in all, 4 great tracks by Crystal Moors. Now onto the epic 20-minute track by Hordak from their part of the split titled “Ophiusa” and a track with the same name. “Ophiusa” is what the Greeks use to call the Iberian Peninsula (that’s where Spain is) and the lyrics are based around their homeland. Now you know writing a song in general can’t be easy and a 20 minute one even more so. Hordak were definitely up to the challenge and I like what they did here. There were some main riffs used throughout and variations of it to tie the parts all together. It is not just 20 minutes of relentless playing but rather parts that fade in and out to set the next part up. Very similarly to what Æther Realm did on their last album “Tarot” and the track “The Sun, The Moon, The Stars”. Lyrics are in English and I would say this is a little more accessible than some of their previous albums/tracks, while still heavy and pagan based, there were no super heavy fast parts, but rather more intricate arpeggio and transitions that created more mood than anything else. Both parts of the split have slightly different productions and mixes which work for each band. Crystal Moors seemed a little smoother around the edges while Hordak had a little more bite to it but both pleasing.
Hopefully you are familiar with both bands but if not, this nice package will definitely give you a little taste of two of Spain’s best exports.
- Crystalmoors – Hijos del Sol 04:35
- Crystalmoors – With the Eyes Towards the Moon 07:00
- Crystalmoors – Llaranza 03:28
- Crystalmoors – Into the Second Punic War 05:42
- Hordak – Ophiusa 20:06