Split albums can be a real hit or miss; especially in the underground depressive black metal scene. ‘Sombras Errantes’ is a four way split that quite literally falls somewhere in the middle. This particular split features (in order of appearance) Lifeless Within, Nocturn, Mourning Soul and Howling Pain. There are a total of 8 tracks with each band contributing two songs. It was released in April, 2012 by Razed Soul Productions.
One of the challenges of producing a good split album is getting all of the bands on a level playing field in terms of production. This can be a tough thing to accomplish with two bands and you can imagine the challenge when you involve four bands hailing from different locations. The quality level throughout ‘Sombras Errantes’ is decent and for the most part consistent but there are some discrepancies. The first half of the split featuring Lifeless Within and Nocturn gets the nod for better production and overall sound quality. The second half which features Mourning Soul and Howing Pain has slightly poorer production, sounding more like it was recorded in a dingy old basement.
Lifeless Within starts off the split with a song called ‘In Eternity’. It’s a good way to start things off. Lifeless Within are the heaviest of the four bands with a much fuller, thicker sound. The music is also a bit more intricate in terms of song structures which makes it interesting. The sound is still a bit raw but its mixed well and full of good melodies and rhythms. There’s even a nice little guitar solo on the second track ‘Cold Shores’. The vocals are solid and fit in well within the music.
Nocturn has a pretty good sound overall. It’s raw but not too raw. The mix is good and well rounded. Probably the best out of all four bands. Nocturn also has something the other bands lack which is good atmosphere. Especially in the second track, ‘Vacio’. Overall the sound has an epic quality to it. The vocals are good and remind me slightly of Burzum. There’s even some chant-like clean vocals thrown into the mix. Actually I might drop another comparison to early Burzum here and mix in some Nontinuum when referring to the music itself. This is more so on the second track.
Mourning Soul begins his offering with a mellow, melodic intro to the first song, ‘Distance’. It has good feeling and a very human element to it. There is some slight feedback hovering in the background which is hidden as the song eventually picks up. Unfortunately though as the song picks up the programmed drums (or at least what sounds to be programmed) make an appearance and it kills the mood of the song. I also found the vocals to be too distorted. This is something that affects both songs from the band. With that being said, both songs do have some good guitar melodies which end up being the highlight.
Howling Pain has some good melodies and rhythms. The production is a little weak. It almost sounds empty or hollow. The lack of a bass guitar is one reason for this but the other reason is the weak presence of the guitars mixed with the volume of the drums. Putting production aside I did really like the epic and highly melancholic feel of the music; especially in the second of Howling Pain’s songs, ‘Vision del Cao’s. The first track ‘Reflejo de la Nada’ has a less melancholic feel to it and more of a punk infused, old school black metal feel. I enjoyed the drumming in both songs which was simple yet held a nice groove. There is certainly potential here for some great music but the vocals need some work.
Overall ‘Sombras Errantes’ is a decent split album. It has some highs points and lows points and I find myself listening to only a couple of the songs and often skipping the rest. Even so it should appeal to most hardcore fans of depressive black metal. It has an extreme underground quality to it which might be part of the appeal to some while it might turn away others.
Released by Razed Soul Productions
(See Track List Below)
- Lifeless Within – In Eternity 06:00
- Lifeless Within – Cold Shores 07:05
- Nocturn – Reino Nocturno 07:11
- Nocturn – Vacío 07:38
- Mourning Soul – Distance 08:50
- Mourning Soul – Existencia Inconsciente 06:22
- Howling Pain – Reflejo de la Nada 05:00
- Howling Pain – Visión del Caos