Poland, various, Russia, Ukraine
Eastern Hammer (Compilation, 2008)
“The Graveland song is the longest track here by a considerable amount of time and it’s quite epic, as is usually the case for newer Graveland. While it’s kind of repetitive it’s not at all boring…sure you need a minimum amount of patience to listen to it but its well worth it. This song successfully represents what Rob Darken’s been writing these last few years and really contains all the elements of new Graveland…the same old Wotan-inspired Viking metal with bombastic drumming. It’s a good track although only the third best on this split.
Secondly, we have the contribution from Ukraine’s finest, Nokturnal Mortum. This track is Kolyada, a re-recording of the sixth song from the band’s first album, Goat Horns. The re-recording is considerably more fast-paced and intense, with an obviously better production than the original version on Goat Horns. The band’s performance here really leads me to believe that their musical talents with their instruments have greatly improved even though their songwriting has somewhat deteriorated (I still like the new stuff a lot, but it doesn’t come close to the classics Lunar Poetry and Goat Horns). Overall I must say that I love this song and that it’s even better than the original version and that I’d very much like to hear some other re-recorded tracks from Nokturnal Mortum’s oldest albums.
After the amazing Kolyada, however, comes North’s song. Now it might be because I’m not a fan of the band nor did I know them prior to listening to this split, but this song is by far the weakest on the album. It’s relatively decent I guess, but it’s just so damn unoriginal. Each time I listen to this it makes me think of a bad imitation of Astrofaes and it’s really just another ‘standard’ fast-paced black metal song that goes nowhere and I basically always skip it. It’s also inconsistent, as the other 3 songs (and bands for that matter) are very inspired by folk music and this is basically a folk black metal split more than a pure black metal split so To Break A Cross To Break A Leg doesn’t really fit very well here.
Finally we have the crowning jewel of this split, a re-recording of Temnozor’s song Did-Dub-Snop off their very first album: Sorcery is Strengthening the Black Glory of Rus’. I’ve heard the original version a few times a long time ago but I don’t remember much except that I liked it a lot. So while I can’t compare it to the original I must say that this song on here is truly amazing and the best among the four here. It’s undoubtedly an improvement in the production department though. From the incredible intro to the amazing riffs near the end, this song is flawless and I keep listening to it about 20 times a day each day since I’ve gotten this split.
So I definitely recommend fans of Nokturnal Mortum, Temnozor and Graveland to get this as it’s excellent and I recommend it to anyone who likes black metal and folk metal as it’s a great introduction to those 3 amazing bands. Sadly I can’t give a perfect rating since the North song drags the overall quality but it’s still very much worth it for the 3 other amazing songs, especially Nokturnal Mortum and Temnozor’s contributions.” (review from Metal Archives)