Full Split Stream: Draghkar / Helcaraxë – “A Glorious Call in the Terrible Darkness”

Pacific Northwest death dealers Draghkar have emerged from the metaphorical darkness with their first release since their 2020 full-length, At the Crossroads of Infinity, partnering with long-running New Jersey death metal outfit Helcaraxë for a new two-song split. For Draghkar, A Glorious Call in the Terrible Darkness is an opportunity to showcase the band’s new lineup. For Helcaraxë, it’s a confirmation of why the band has remained an underground staple for 20 years.

Draghkar opens the split with “The Last Dreamer,” the final offering to feature guitarist Kelly Kuciemba and first to feature new drummer Andrew Lee (Ripped to Shreds, Houkago Grind Time). A somewhat dissonant and somewhat melodic song, “The Last Dreamer” really displays the Seattle band’s diverse influences that range from old-school black and death metal to classic heavy metal, which can be heard in the melodies and guitarist Brandon Corsair’s sung vocals.

“‘The Last Dreamer’ represents a qualitative growth for us,” Draghkar tell Decibel, “Merging our old school heavy metal influences with our love of ancient death even more directly than we did on At the Crossroads of Infinity and signalling things to come with our next album. This is also the first time we’ve had the sort of dual lead vocals and we’re excited to show that side of our sound to the world on this split.”

Helcaraxë also come at the split from a melodic angle, jumping right into shining lead guitars on “Satan Ad Infinitum.” Marrying such harmonies with old-school death metal would go frustratingly wrong in most hands but Helcaraxë do it with grace. The two songs together complement and juxtapose each other nicely, united by melody and separated by other elements.

“’Satan Ad Infinitum’ was a chance for us to really explore the fusion of overt harmonized melody with the ugliness of early ’90s death metal to do melodic death the right way,” Helcaraxë explain. “We took what Helcaraxë is known for and honed it into something really special, pulling influence from bands like Sweden’s Edge of Sanity and even Morbid Angel. We also grappled with some new lyrical concepts that we are looking forward to exploring more!”

A Glorious Call in the Terrible Darkness doesn’t see its official release until April 26 though Nameless Grave but you can stream both songs now via Decibel.