Review: Besotten/Funerelic ‘Abyssal Synodality’ Split EP

Split EPs have always seemed like a great idea to me since I picked up a Cough/Windhand CD at Desertfest some years back. There’s an awesome community vibe about two bands coming together on a release – especially when, as is the case here on Abyssal Synodality, an EP release through Satanik Royalty Records, the bands in question complement each other so well.

Besotten/Funerelic 'Abyssal Synodality' Artwork
Besotten/Funerelic ‘Abyssal Synodality’ Artwork

Besotten and Funerelic both hail from Portland, Oregon, so they’re going to have played the same clubs and peddled their wares to the same crowds. But that’s not all they share in common. Their sound certainly feels like it’s coming from a similar part of hell, blending doom and blackened death, and the production is so even throughout the record that it wouldn’t be much of a reach to imagine the same engineer being involved with both bands. There’s a muddiness that works perfectly for this kind of vibe. The vocals and guitar are upfront, with the drums submerged into the mix. It’s all delightfully old school.

Opening track, Anothered, by Besotten sets the tone for their offering. There’s no shortage of heaviness on display, riffage and blast beats prominent from the get-go, but the songwriting is front and centre, the vocals leading and shaping the track throughout. Subterranean Realms Of Excrutiation has a slower pace, yet remains equally as heavy and melodic. There’s a ritualistic feeling to the track, an incantation kind of vibe.

As a split, Abyssal Sonadality works perfectly – each band are their own beast and set their own unique stalls out…

The third track, Tomb Of The Nercrolith, sees the baton passed onto Funerelic. The vocals are sharper, more blackened if you like. The song structure is looser, more freeform and eclectic. Closing track, Devoured In Obsidian Flame, is furious from start to finish, the vocals an almost pained cry of despair rising up from the midst of the distortion-heavy onslaught.

This is a strong release from two relatively new bands, both Funerelic and Besotten having only released a demo each prior to this record in 2021 and 2022 respectively. As a split, Abyssal Sonadality works perfectly – each band are their own beast and set their own unique stalls out, so to speak, but there’s also an inherent solidarity to the EP, with fans of one very likely to find plenty to get on board with when it comes to the other.

And, for me, that’s exactly what a good split release should hope to achieve.

Label: Satanik Royalty Records
Besotten: Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram
Funerelic: Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Dharma