Today’s single is another split release. It features two bands both well-known and heralded in metal’s lexicon, though in different aspects. Both bands were labelmates with Century Media Records in 2015 and that is the likely reason for this single being in existence. (Both still are with CM, as far as I can tell). One band is a Canadian group revered for their strange yet masterful takes on music, while the other group is a Swedish outfit hailed as a pioneer on the melodic death metal front.
The single was released in three versions – 1,000 copies on black vinyl, 500 on white and 500 on red. Red is what I went for, and now trivia time – red is my favorite color. If you press a record on red, I will go for it. Overall I’m cool with whatever vinyl colors and I dig the wide variety of stuff available, but just like Sammy Hagar, I’m gonna go for red when it’s out there.
I pre-ordered this when news of the split first came down and I’ve had it since release. Slapping At The Gates on a record is a sure-fire way to get me to buy it.
Voivod – We Are Connected
This 2015 song was initially a standalone release. The song would appear a year later on the EP Post Society. Voivod has also aired the song out live.
I won’t even bother trying to describe what Voivod sounds like. It is a useless task and words, especially mine, won’t do any justice to Voivod’s music. They are one of the most unique entities in metal and really all of music.
We Are Connected is a nice jam that extends over seven minutes, not a common runtime on the 7-inch/45 release format. It is weird, in keeping with the band’s traditions, but yet this one doesn’t go to any really challenging places and can be taken in without a ton of effort. There’s a bit to chew on and digest here but it’s a well-presented package.
At The Gates – Language Of The Dead
This song from the Swedish death metal legends was originally available a year prior to this single, as a bonus track on a deluxe version of their 2014 comeback album At War With Reality. It was the band’s first album since 1995, the juggernaut Slaughter Of The Soul that still casts a large shadow over metal to this day.
Language Of The Dead is the case of a bonus track song that people ask “why the hell was this a bonus track?” I mean, don’t get me wrong – I love At War With Reality. Hearing ATG be able to record viable music decades after their moonshot album was a thrill.
But this song is just absolutely great. It has the old-school feel that calls back to the band’s glory days while still sounding fresh and new. I don’t know how or why bands and labels choose songs to be on a record or to be cast aside for bonus material, but I agree with many others that the song could have easily slotted on to the album.
But hey, it doesn’t matter. I have the album and I have this single also, it’s all there. The two bands seem an unlikely pairing but both are revered in many circles and the end result works very, very well. This is one split that offers something a bit more than the sum of its parts, even if it was born of the convenience of having both bands on the same label.