Split 2016 Wide Open with Auroch and Mitochondrion

Early yesterday morning, the Greater Inner Covenant of Mitochondrion and Auroch, masters of cavernous, dissonant Canadian death metal, released the long-awaited split In Cronian Hour via Dark Descent Records and Hellthrasher Productions. After at least three years of gestation in the bilious womb of a grotesque yonic abomination, will this split usher forth the end-times? Curious minds, inquire within!

The premise of In Cronian Hour is unique. Given a single lyric sheet, pertaining cryptically to an apocryphal reaping of gilded auguries, both bands were tasked with crafting a unique vision of the prophecy. The end product is remarkable both for bearing two distinct halves and for maintaining a stark, portentous unity. Although each band shares a core constituency of Shawn Hache (on guitars and vocals) and Sebastian Montesi (on bass and vocals), each is able to conjure a distinct voice proclaiming the lifting of the veil.

The split opens with Auroch’s track, “Leaden Words Sown.” This winding path of abruptly shifting time signatures and tempos is even more esoteric, and dare I say inaccessible, than the band’s typical fare. There’s a frenzy behind the pinch-laden riffs, commensurate blast beats, and all-encompassing vocals that few bands can muster. Distinct pitches and tones are used to assault listeners with tormented cries ranging from ghoulish growls to banshee shrieks, all while the drums adopt hermetic patterns diverging from the standard death metal formula. Over the course of the track’s relatively short (five-minute) run-time, I counted no less than three distinct shifts in the song’s structure, with the riffs permutating accordingly. As the track becomes even more chaotic and claustrophobic, the squeals and shrieks heighten, approaching a terrifying crescendo atop an accelerating drum pattern, only to burst through the floodgates around the 3:30 mark. After that, the band happily lays down their arcane implements of destruction, instead suspending the chaos within a vacuum of swirling noise and haunting vocal chants that acts as the transition into the Mitochondrion track.

If Auroch’s side was the frenzied voice crying out from the desert, Mitochondrion’s track, “Gilded Words Reaped,” is the cleansing fire that the voice forewarned. As befits their discography, Mitochondrion’s track is a far more hulking and weighty beast. Although there are still time changes, greater prominence is given to the discordant, Obscura-esque death metal riffs and pummeling double-bass. The riffs are tighter, more focused, and decidedly more pummeling, accented by the slightly more metallic sounding percussion. Mitochondrion lock into a more uniform, less chaotic approach, but they lose no malice in the process. In fact, the squealing leads and slight hints of layered guitar tracks lend even greater malice to the suffocating atmosphere. There may be less black geometry at work in the architecture, with less ramping intensity and rising chords, but there is no loss of ferocity. If I had to choose, I think I appreciate the slower, more shamanistic approach (given all the more heft by the throaty vocal work around the 4:45 mark behind the searing, gibbering lead) of this side of the split. If Auroch were the preamble to beleaguering devastation, Mitochondrion are the bereaving pain of loss and sorrow in its culmination.

“In Cronian Hour leaden words will be sown and gilded words will be reaped …”

In Cronian Hour stylistically breaks little new ground. If you’ve heard either of these most excellent death metal bands before, you know what to expect. These tracks are, however, quintessential embodiments of each band at their very best, and considering the unique concept from which this collaboration was birthed, the songs themselves stand as tall as anything penned in this style. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Colin Marston’s excellent production extracts every ounce of heaviness from the music possible while still retaining a spacious quality in the atmosphere. All considered, this split may not musically push this genre beyond its limits, but it does demonstrate the dizzying, vertigo-inducing heights to which cavernous, dissonant death metal can be taken.

You can purchase the album digitally right now over at Bandcamp, but if you want one of the excellent vinyl 7″ packages in either bone white or black, you’ll need to check Dark Descent Records here or here. While you’re under the arcane influence, go say “Iä! Iä!” to Auroch and Mitochondrion on Facebook.

(Photo VIA)

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Published on: June 10, 2016

Filled Under: New Stuff

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  • Lacertilian

    My first impressions of this split.
    Auroch: Fuck.
    and
    Mitochondrion: Yes.

    As you can see, I’m incapable of your degree of eloquence.

    • Dubs

      Sometimes simpler is better.

      • Lacertilian

        *betterer

        • Dubs

          No, see, now you’re being like me and complicating things.

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      Wow, way to complicate it dude. I don’t listen to music to think of big words

      -Courtney, 9/20/10

    • Joaquin Stick

      Coming soon: Lizard’s new column of micro-reviews, where only one word is sufficient.

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    This is cool.
    Wishlist for future collaborations-

    David Draiman with Corey Taylor
    Corey Taylor with M. Shadows
    David Draiman with Amy Lee
    M. Shadows with Amy Lee

    And Amy Lee with Jared Leto

    -nemesis92jc, 2 months ago

    • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

      Randy Blythe and Corey Taylor doing a spoken word CD. *cringes*

  • More like YAWNic, right?
    No?
    I’ll see myself out…

    • Abradolf Lincler

      * subdued clapping

  • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

    Loving the Auroch, especially after the 1:20 mark! Melodic but very unorthodox riffs on that one, and loving those enveloping vocals. Same with the Mitochondrian song, which more or less sounds like the same band.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Not my usual fare, but the production sounds pretty unreal for how much is going on. Actually being able to hear everything is a good gateway for me.

    • Dubs

      Colin Marston is a production warlock. Also, I will guide you into this world if you seek a sherpa.

      • Joaquin Stick

        What’s weird is that I can’t really say there’s any part of either of those songs that I particularly dislike, so I am not sure what to ask for. I enjoyed them both, but they are currently not things I seek out. Maybe I need a similar band with heavier focus on melodic sections? Rather than erratic pinch riffs?

        • Dubs
          • Abradolf Lincler

            DAT ALBUM

          • Joaquin Stick

            Probably but I will have to refresh my memory. Hold Please.

          • Joaquin Stick

            Yep, this is a step in the right direction. Enjoying mightily.

          • Dubs

            Excellllent

          • oh dubs, my heart skipped a beat seeing you post this

          • Dubs

            My heart will skip a beat if you listen to the split.

          • this is going to happen once stupid corporate conference call is over! but rest assured, my volume will remain as high as it is when merol takes over me speakers

          • Dubs

            <3

          • yeah dude, i’m new to Auroch but i LURB Mito’s Parasignosis!

          • Dubs

            Auroch are tight, but this track feels even more chaotic than what they usually put out

          • Abradolf Lincler

            both of these tracks are a bit too chaotic for me, but you are right about Marstons production. that dude is killin it this year

          • Dubs

            Producer du jour.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            cant wait to see how these agalloch remasters sound

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            What if he figured out a way skronkify them and they sounded like a totally different genre? Lol

          • dude even JJD would be into that

          • Abradolf Lincler

            he said skronkify not grandpa-ify

          • he’ll start liking heavy merol one of these days, i just know it!

          • Dubs

            Only if Ghost saves metal.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            i suppose id be looking for a 90 dollar refund lolol

          • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

            Or even worse: giving them Darkthrone production.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            They’re closer to darkthrone Production in their original state than anything that Marstons doing lately

          • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

            Hardly!

          • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

            I dunno, I still have an original of Ashes Against The Grain, and it sounded perfectly fine to me. Just the right mix of clarity and grit (the grit part being essential for any Agalloch CD). I’m kinda iffy about fucking with something that was done right the first time around.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            We’ll just have to see man

          • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf
  • I knew this was a Dubya’s writing!

    I don’t have head or ears to listen this type of music right now. But I will def put this recommendation in the high spot for when I need overly dark sounds.

  • RJA

    Just pre-ordered this morning – along with the Ellorsith/Mannveira split. Nice review sir.

    • Dubs

      Thanks, RJA. I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying that bone-white vinyl next month.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        I’m willing to bet that the bone white will be sold out before next month

        • Dubs

          If it happens, it happens. Gotta stick to the budget.

        • Tronc McBeefyBeardloaf

          Yep, if not by the end of next week.

  • Waynecro

    Excellent review and awesome jams. Thanks, Dubya!

  • sweetooth0

    Seein’ Auroch with Revenge on July 2nd! Will have to familiarize myself with this mighty split!

    • Dubs

      That will be a killer show.