Whenever bands come together for a split, it fulfills two major conditions: it showcases their hard work in a unique way outside of the standard album idea, and it shows whether the two bands in question are able to find common ground in their music or if they’re too wildly different. A split that recently did this was Towards the Nameless Darkness, which found common ground in how both bands approached making black metal. On Desolate Tides, the new split between Putrescine and Kosmogyr, they not only find common ground—one bound by the sonic influences, emotional trappings, and the never-ending cycle of (musical) rebirth—but show a certain camaraderie that I don’t see that often with splits.
Putrescine, as their name suggests, plays a rather fetid brand of death metal with a technical twist. The music is dissonant and heavy with some serious groove and then, out of nowhere, progressive tendencies emerge. As their side of the split moves from “The Accursed” to “Secrets Beckon Sweetly,” the main melodic line becomes the highlight and ratchets up on the dissonance, creating a sense of dread and suspense that makes me wonder what else they have hidden up their sleeve. Then, on “Seeing The Unknown,” that inherent dread is extended further and said dissonance is layered thick throughout the track. It’s here where the technical mastery and sweeping riffs shine the most. Considering that “Seeing The Unknown” has an orchestral outro that segments perfectly into the next half, this first half showcases Putrescine’s willingness and openness to further evolve their sound, one that almost pushes for, and marries, the music that’s presented on the second half of the split. Although they are primarily known for playing death metal, Putrescine is not afraid of challenging themselves with more and more sonic.
I also wanted to mention that I tried to refrain from making a comment about Bloodborne but given that the standout track of this first half makes references to my favorite boss of the game, I must. I am steeped in a Bloodborne hell of my own making.
On the other half of the split, we have Kosmogyr, a band that I have listened to and enjoyed since their 2018 release, Eviternity. I initially came to this split because they were on it and was curious to see where their heads were at. With “Eschaton,” Kosmogyr pick up right from the outro of “Seeing The Unknown,” showing that they haven’t lost their penchant for post-black metal. They build on the atmosphere and create this sort of cosmic ambiance that vibrates before the vocals come in. Once the they do, the music swells and heightens into a cosmic-like nature, feeling as if you are listening to something that Unreqvited made. However, if you think that this half of the split is going to remain within the confines of post-black metal, you have no idea why splits are made. As soon as “Eschaton” ends, “Ring” hits the ground running by foregoing the previous ambiance in favor of traditional blast beats and a faster tempo. This comes to a head in “Rise Towards God,” as their usual cinematic feel has scaled back and it feels like you are listening to death metal, again, albeit with more of a melodic feel. Granted, this is not what Putrescine was doing in their half, but this song compliments that very well. When the split loops back, the death metal begins again, showing that the line that separates both thematically is very thin.
All in all, Desolate Tides shows that two bands coming from different genres altogether can find a certain unity that marries their work. While Putrescine plays death metal with a heavy hand, Kosmogyr is unafraid to play their brand of black metal with a more traditional feel. Likewise, Putrescine is unafraid of experimentation and show that they can go toe-to-toe with Kosmogyr’s grander musical influences. I enjoyed this split immensely, and am interested in seeing whether both bands will continue to experiment with their sound as heard here.