ALBUM REVIEW: Black Altar/Kirkebrann – Deus Inversus (Split)

Fusing together the music of two highly respected black metal bands where one hails from Poland and one from Norway seems like a ferociously good idea. And, without any fucking about, it absolutely is. This new split featuring Black Altar and Kirkebrann is, what they call in legal circles, conclusive evidence.

Opening with two ferociously blackened tracks from Black Altar, the production is excellent and convey the oppressive heaviness of this band. They have always concentrated hard on being themselves – and themselves alone. Their mission is a solitary one and they’ve been journeying long enough to know the direction in which they are headed. There is, dare I say, a hint of the blackened death no-nonsense sound of latter day Behemoth but the spine of these songs is true to the gnarled roots of the genre.

Following a haunting, instrumental outro from them, Kirkebrann usher in the rasping grittiness of their Norwegian black metal style. Their first offering, ‘Faux Pas’, is probably their best and gallops along in a manner reminiscent of the more angular Scandinavian bands such as Khold. The production of the Kirkebrann tracks is bleaker and lacks the bottom end that the Black Altar tracks provides – but this adds to the glorious balance of the record. And when splits albums work, like this one absolutely does, they are astonishingly addictive.

‘Deus Inversus’ is deemed a split but that implies division and there are none here. The record is seamless and clawingly appealing. Both bands have provided a near-faultless output and this will be one that the underground takes heed of.


‘Deus Inversus’ – Black Altar/Kirkebrann (split) is out on Odium Records on June 30th 2020.

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