OTAL / Hayras Split - Ode aux Années froides / Terroristes de la Foi (Ode to the Cold/ Terrorist Years of the Faith)

OTAL / Hayras Split - Ode aux Années froides / Terroristes de la Foi (Ode to the Cold/ Terrorist Years of the Faith) - 3/5
OTAL 4/5: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?lbgy0uvzwwz
Hayras 2/5: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?myzn2mzdvjy

Yeah, I’ve decided to be kvlt and talk about an obscure couple of French Black Metal artists. Now, when you’re in your bedroom, writing your personal brand of Black metal, with your cheap mic system and home studio software, remember, the goal is to not sound like every other black metal band. On this split, one band succeeds at this goal, the other does not. The score should give you a clue as to what I’m talking about. The bands go in very different directions, yet the production ties them both together, and while they aren’t really of the same quality, the band’s styles suit each other.

OTAL play a symphonic sort of BM, lots of keys, synth, and I’m pretty sure I hear a violin every now and then. The riffs are better then average, and the drumming is fast, but not ridiculous or distracting like some programmed machines. Hunferd performs the black metal vocals and White Onyx performs the female parts of N. 1996 and Les Litanies de Satan. The production is a double-edged sword here; the poor quality gives a warm and fuzzy atmosphere. Now, if that doesn’t sound gr1m enough for you, suck it, because it works. The problem is that the vocals and the drums are set pretty far back in the mix and with a better production; certain songs would become even better with range that is more dynamic.

None of the tracks really sound the same, but all serve there purpose, even the token creepy piano intro. Standout tracks for this side are the last three, being Necrophilia 1996, based off events performed by Hunferd with an exhumed corpse during the year 1996. Yeah, this person’s a creepy bastard, but it’s a pretty good song. Same goes for Les Litanies de Satan, lyrics written Charles Baudelaire, With White Onyx showing just how disturbing a French Hymn to Satan by a pissed-off priestess can be, especially when supplemented by some excellent capitalization by Hunferd’s wall of black metal. When the Goddess Dances is my personal favorite, being that the riff is ripped right out of a thrash anthem and the song just sound perfect. If all the songs had the same flow and execution as this, I’d have to max out the score.

Hayras, on the other hand, suffers from a lack of writing skills, the production, and a startling lack of originality. As an earlier reviewer stated, “is basically Darkthrone playing through an even crappier recording system”, and I stand behind that description. Everything is set so far back in the mix. This might not be the worst production I’ve heard, but it is a problem because half the time I can’t catch what’s happening in the song. Terrorists de la Foi stands out as the one I can best comprehend, and it’s pretty good. It’s a shame the other songs sound quite similar. Really, they can only be told apart by which spoken part populates each song. This is far better as an atmosphere peace, one to play as to try to lull yourself to sleep, then as a focused listen. The atmosphere is good actually, which is about the only good thing the production lends this artist.

In short, definitely try out OTAL, and you might want to give Hayras a shot too.