SPLITting Headache – Some Stuff

You know for all the damn splits that were released in the past year, I sure got only a few of them in the promo emails and regular mail. Why? Why can I not enjoy more splitting of the production costs and music? Why can I not compare one band to another on the same release more often? Note to labels and bands, send me more splits. I need splits, I desire splits, and it is to splits I go today. As usual, four random splits, well, that is, since I didn’t have more to create a theme out of, and, as usual, they’re in alphabetical order. Thus, don’t think they’re organized based on anything else. It’s just the fate of the letter system we call the alphabet. Screw this dumb intro, let’s get into it so you can listen and then split.

Clean Girls / Jail Solidarity – Ltd. Cassette

cgjsWhen I saw this was a Clean Girls release, who I drooled about before, I had to have it. Plus Serenity Now Tapes proved they actually glanced at my site, at least a little, instead of trying to bullshit me. CG are a still relatively unknown noise-punk outfit from Brooklyn, and let me tell you, this split isn’t going to help matters. Jail Solidarity, who I hadn’t heard until now, completely carries it. Other than a rare cassette release, the DC noise rock trio have only received minor attention, and that’s a real shame. You could’ve released their tracks as a split with a pop-punk solo act consisting of one 11-year-old on the drum he practices on for band camp called Lemonade for the Chia Pet and it would still be awesome, because Jail Solidarity would be on one side. Clean Girls… I’m rather surprised. After an incredibly promising and angst-touched intro, the rest falls quickly at 100x the force of gravity on Jupiter (I looked that up to sound really clever). It’s so damn noisy it’s like a pre-demo test session before recording the actual demo and, upon listening to it, realizing they were all standing an inch away from the mic and ruined the whole thing. Considering how incredible their previous work is, I couldn’t believe until I checked the tracks. No offense to Jail Solidarity, I figured this garbage puke punk was them  because I had yet to experience the epiphany. Not sure what happened to CG, but this was either rushed, not taken seriously, or tracks recorded before they realized they wanted to be a band. Jail Solidarity, it’s a miracle, they did it, split saved. Their offerings consist of clean dissonance with languid, pained silence breaking into screaming. The fact that all three perform vocals was a huge plus, in addition to lyrics that are simplistic, yet haunting. They’re what I expected Pain Teens to sound like, but didn’t, so it’s good to have that missing piece of my childhood puzzle replaced with perfect edges. Really looking forward to more, so let’s hope they put as much effort into whatever comes next and Clean Girls gets their act together. This score is solely reflective of Jail Solidarity. Clean Girls Official Facebook  Jail Solidarity Official Facebook Score: 4.4 / 5  

Fister / Teeth – Ltd. 7″

I’ve always been curious about bands who exist primarily to release split after split. Part of me thinks it’s to make them sound better, saying “yeah, we did a split with X (insert band).” Wow really you must be good. Risky move, though. Or, perhaps it’s a form of free advertising; get your name stuck on there with some white collars in metal in the hopes that you’ll get the office job you always dreamed of, with full benefits. That’s what I think about Fister, in general, a sludge outfit from Missouri. Here they’re paired with generally unknown crush beasts Teeth from California by Broken Limbs Recordings. To be honest, both bands bring it, and unlike some splits where the tracks weigh towards a single band, not so here. But I mean running time. In terms of overall quality and presence, however, Teeth has it. Fister, to be fair, lay on easy-to-grasp, ragged melodies, but paired with Teeth there’s just no comparison. By the time their tracks begin, it’s all over. Where Fister can play, Teeth can write. The vocals are dreary like rotting trees sinking at the side of a raging sea, and the music mixes classic sludge essence with some considerably inventive mixtures of the post-insert whatever genre you fancy. God that singing just made me want to die, and I like feeling that way. In totality this is a fine split, but there’s always one band pulling most of the power, and this time around at least, that’s Teeth. If this was a show, I know for sure who the opener would be, and to make sure it’s clear it wouldn’t them. For as long as Fister have been around in comparison, the age-old rising alpha male vs silverback analogy would be fitting. Bye-bye grayhair, the ladies aren’t interested. With Fister you’re going to get a little bruised, but when the Teeth dig in (get it?), the flesh is permanently wounded. Going to be watching those guys for sure. Fister Official Facebook  Teeth Official Facebook Score: 4.2 / 5 

Impurity / Sex Messiah – Split CD/12″

First off, all you only-own-if-rare elitists, the label that first put this out, High Society Satanic, is not only impossible to locate, but their releases are so rare they have everyone in a tizzy. This one you can find elsewhere, though. Impurity sets it off fittingly, and not simply because alphabetical order demands it be so, it’s because I could review this entire split based on the word “impure,” but it probably wouldn’t mean what you think it means. Since space is limited I’ll be straight-up rude. This is lo-fi trash compactor sheisse. Hey now, you know as well as anyone I love my stuff raw, crude, hateful, and arrogant. But this, this is just old and crusted, but I don’t mean crust. Impurity are a fairly respected black metal act from Brazil, but like a number of Brazilian BM bands I’ve come across over the years, they’d be better off playing gore grind, because it sounds that bad but would be accepted for what it is. I can totally dig the wretchedness of their side of the split, but really only the vocal delivery is going to be worth your time. Each tracks fuzzily melds into the other, and when it’s over you’re not sure if you’ve heard Impurity in 2015 (when this was released) or 1989. Get it? But, as usual, it seems it takes some Japanese BM to save the whole of it, or, almost. As I already said, impure is the word for this. The entire split is so decayed it had to have been mastered on moldy reel-to-reel, but of course that’s totally elite. Sex Messiah, something like Abigail, have that usual Japanese bizarreness in approach, something not easily explained unless you’ve heard so much BM you’re not sure where it’s coming from anymore, but there it is. At times it feels like the entire band is rotting on stage or their bones are falling apart while recording, at others like they’re playing in your bathroom while burning the shower curtain. Thus, at times wow, at others come on now. The absolutely painful shrieking from the vocals is what really sold me about them enough that I didn’t mind a few listens of the whole thing, but I always dreaded the restart into Impurity’s realm. This kind of thing is the usual “so rare printed in limited editions bro and rereleased by big label,” so you know what to expect. Oh, and that means Nuclear War Now! Productions did it. Impurity Official Facebook  Sex Messiah Official Facebook Score: 4 / 5 

Wederganger / Laster – Split CD

Now here’s a respectable chunk of music that dares call itself a split, released by Ván Records. Splits, as we all known, are normally short and often not to the point. This is is the full-length version of that, though a point it does seem to have, somewhere in there. Both bands hail from the Netherlands, both play black metal, but who will be crowned emperor? Get it? I’m a funny guy. Let me first explain what I like. The combination of two different veins of the same genre is a smart idea, and way too many splits fail to understand this. Porno death metal and pagan black metal? Doesn’t sound so good, too much variation. I find splits to be significantly stronger in overall presentation when both bands come with the same ancestral background. I figured that sounded BM too, see how funny? Even further, in this case, is one band is more fitting with the old, the other with the new. And this, friends, is the reason one must be considered the better of the two. It’s the ancient split conundrum. Not both can be the best, only one can be king, only one can wear the sacred crown of the fallen ones of the battle field with the horses and the spears and blood (another funny BM joke, this is a funny site). Even the fact that both of these bands are from the Netherlands can save one from the oblivion of a squire’s funeral (that’s the last one, I swear). Wederganger first deal out over 14 minutes of wind-swept, snow-covered fields, and it’s something like an entire movement with different parts. As far as presence goes, these guys have it down, but it’s the old kind, and it’s occasionally marred by clean, deep-throat magician chanting. That’s the best way I have of describing it, it’s something I expect to hear to get everyone in the mood at a LARP event. That, and several of the softer sections are sparse enough to reveal rather weak writing. The blast attack after the 9-minute mark woke me up again, but there comes that Lvl20 Half-Elf MU again, Christ… Thankfully Laster are here to pick up the pieces. As soon as their 17+ minute soul exorcism begins, it makes this whole one worth it. As you find with bands pushing more of the post-BM angle these days, they rely on atmosphere over an abundance of aggression, keeping the listener in check with piercing shrieks and unpredictable atmosphere. My only complaints with it were the surprisingly clean bass and the “uhh, what?” noise at the end that almost runs a full minute. Stay away from that avenue in the future, guys, please, please. It’s amazing how something like that can almost ruin an entire release. Wederganger Official Facebook  Laster Official Facebook  Score: 4.1 / 5 

Written by Stanley Stepanic