On my first listen through the Mares of Diomedes side of this split my impression was just that yes, this is definitely doom metal – from the first track it wastes no time making you feel like you’re stood way too close to an amp, feeling your hair move and face vibrate with every loud bass note.
They prove quickly they are capable of all that “bone-crushing heaviness” they and their peers are going for. Earth Destroyer is a very satisfyingly stodgy effort that stands up to repeated listens and both Mares of Diomedes tracks ended up reminding me of the detritus on the floor of a dive bar, stickily thick with some crunchy bits of lighter grooving. It’s not a bad vibe.
My first response to the Dreich side was enjoyment of the black metal elements in Blood Mortar. The touch of sourness brought by blackening ended up working well with the general molasses-like flavour of the doom riffs forming the bulk of each track.
Where Do They Hide was a nice surprise – although the vocals throughout were enjoyable, the variation provided by the chanting definitely made the song. I’d say all three tracks would make a good addition to the average doom fan’s beanbag-and-snacks playlist.