At this moment in time I can think of no better combo for a split than Rot in Hell and Integrity, compliments of Thirty Days of Night Records. I mean, this must be right up there with the Integrity/Mayday split in terms of absolutely perfect, wholly appropriate pairings. Rot in Hell kicks things off with the crunchy rhythms, droning lead melodies, scathing vocals, and scorching solos of "Erebus"; before a stark change of pace via "Life Becomes a Desert Around You"—which utilizes faint singing underneath a repetitious lull of acoustic guitars, violin, and sparse percussion. Surprisingly epic. They never fail to impress, and these are two of their finest tracks to date, without a doubt. Integrity then follows with "Waiting for the Sun to Burn Out My Eyes", which transitions seamlessly into "Black Heksen Rise". Both compositions see the band's trademark sound permeated by somewhat more of an obvious Japanese hardcore influence (more so in the former) through raw, driving power chords; explosive solos and crazy tapping runs; pounding midpaced breaks with just the right amount of eerie melody; etc. These concise and explosive EP's have found Integrity cranking out some of their fiercest and most powerful material as of late, and I'm all for it.
The records are housed in a black and white gatefold 7" sleeve with an 11-page booklet secured to the inside of the right panel. The last two pages contain lyrics and such for the Rot in Hell and Integrity tunes, while the remaining nine consist of a cryptic, essentially text-free "comic book" of Dwid's trademark illustrations and obscured, textured graphics. The second 7" is billed as "a caustic narrative of the book read aloud by Dwid Hellion", but it's really so much more than that. Its three tracks/11-and-a-half minutes strike me as a combination of Roses Never Fade and early Psywarfare with some additional twists. First up is an alternate recording of "Waiting for the Sun to Burn Out My Eyes", which adds whispered vocals and faint wisps of distortion to the acoustic version that appeared on the "Thee Destroy+ORR" CD. "Process of Prayer" then follows with lightly distorted spoken passages mixed right in against ominous, faintly melodic low-end drones. The flip side contains the 7+ minute "Where Does the Fire Come From", consisting of half-whispered/half-spoken vocals amidst lurching dark ambient swells and crunches of distortion, not to mention barely audible acoustic guitar and assorted other abstract textures. Excellent.
Before I was finished with my first complete listen this set had already worked its way into being one of my favorite splits of all time. It's just that good. Here's a little proof thanks to YouTube (check out snippets from the second 7" through Amazon.com or iTunes):
After a lengthy pre-order phase, just a few copies remain (directly from the bands). I'll be shocked if they don't sell out soon, so you'd be foolish to sleep on this. For everyone else, it's also available digitally...