CD, The Eastern Front, 2009
The best aspect of this split CD is, oddly enough, also its greatest letdown: the two artists, while dealing with disparate thematic ideologies, manage to generate very similar soundscapes of martial ambient, filtered samples and industrial overtones. This makes “Viltis” seem more like a full-length album from one artist, not the split EP showcasing two fresh new talents on the Eastern Front’s already impressive roster. You almost hope, when confronted by two artists on one disc, that you will be exposing yourself to more than one style and, alas, despite the quality of work presented on “Viltis”, it is all very similar.
Having already experienced Kreuzer’s excellent debut album, “In Hoc Signo Vinces”, I have to admit to slight disappointment when faced with the five tracks presented here. None have the fire that the aforementioned album possesses, but the best among these offerings is “God Save Lithuania”. Its mumbled vocal lines, overlaid on simple, repetitive melodies with a harsh, draconic wind reverberating in the background, comes close to the quality of “In Hoc Signo Vinces”.
Surma, on the other hand, is an entirely fresh experience, and, while being vastly similar in overall sound to Kreuzer, nevertheless provides quality listening. “Relic”, in particular, with its hymnal, religious air, transports the listener to a different time, viewed imperfectly, as if through a cracked lens. Very nice, indeed. This contrasts extremely effectively with the thirteen-minute epic “When the Sun was Rising”, a post-apocalyptic paean to forgotten civilisations crumbling under shifting sands.
As far as dark ambient music goes, “Viltis” is one of the most exciting and stirring releases I’ve heard, despite the relative freshness of the two talented producers it showcases.
— David vander Merwe