Whilst I try not to let this be a bias in what I write, I like the idea behind more than one band contributing to a single album. Split CDs tend to have the common trait of featuring several similar-sounding groups of musicians that, when banded together, rarely make the sound of the album oversaturated or make the listener feel as though the band in question are trying too hard. It’s like the old proverb states: big things come in small packages; and in this sense Unquiet Records have dished out a trio of ferocious, nihilistic, dark metal that is ripe for the pickings of something aggressive and angry. These types of records are more than welcome at times.
The first third of the album is dedicated to a raw post-metal from deep in the heart of poetry’s haven, Krakow. Lord knows I love me some Cult Of Luna and ISIS (the band, by the way!) and so the flavours that are on display from Fleshworld make this a nice refreshing start to the split CD. No time is wasted as the band hit a quick one-two punch with some nasty snarling vocals over some tightly-constructed, harmonised chords that are, dare I say, melodic, and that on the surface, make Fleshworld’s efforts rather profound from the offset.
My interpretation skills are very limited to say the least, but anybody can tell that Fleshworld’s influences run very deep, certainly from a screamer’s perspective. Their ability to hit the slow, doomy riffs on their strings, whilst the vocalist churns out more of his brutal rasps are perhaps the most memorable sections of their wholly enjoyable dedication to this record. At one point, during the nigh-on progressive “Rezygnacja”, it appears the vocalist is trying to create multiple vocal personalities – there are even Jamey Jasta-type yells alongside some deep guttural growls. That was also pretty fun I have to say.
One drawback of this third is that the recording quality doesn’t do their efforts as much justice as it should. Fleshworld are very talented and they hit the right type of post-metal extremism from all the right angles, however, the raw almost crusty sounding recording quality means that their prog dynamic isn’t executed to the standards that would turn up the ferocity scale to levels never before reached. However, this will nonetheless please fans of older, more traditional hardcore and it seems they are aiming for that, so fair play to them. Would definitely consider checking Fleshworld out live.
We go from Poland to France, as the middle portion of this split CD treat the listener to some crust-punk-hardcore-blackened metal hybrid (if you can imagine that) from Gazers. The Parisian quintet, judging by their immediate efforts, are intent on bringing the element of noise to the table. Their guitars are more rhythmic and are delivered to create those insanely deep riffs that don’t extend far beyond anything sporadically technical. However, that is what makes Gazers’ three songs’ dynamic separate from their predecessors. They hit anything from a ferocious punchy beatdown to a small, melodic fill. I guess that means they can be considered prog now, right?
Well regardless of that, Gazers actually deliver some enjoyable flavours of blackened metal and straight up, balls-heavy hardcore that I don’t mind from time to time – and so, when put together it actually works relatively well. The vocalist is undoubtedly one who shouts his entire lung capacity at the microphone and thus makes the music seem more passionate. Like I said, my interpretive skills aren’t the same today, but I can easily determine that Gazers are furious at the world. And that is a very good thing if you create some damn heavy, entertaining music to go with it.
The bottom line is this; if you’re after anything technical or filled with tempo changes at every turn, then Gazers’ may not be your cup of tea. However, if you like something angry and a bit of everything that hardcore, punk and blackened metal do well as a collective, then you may find yourself banging your head at times.
Which brings me to the final portion of this split CD, courtesy of psychedelic, drone-inspired Viscera/// whose Italian roots go so far as enhancing the listening experience of this split CD by a clear distance. With an almost Godflesh-like presence of creating some seriously intimate and ferociously heavy metal with sludge-like influences, Viscera/// have certainly contributed the windmilling fix that many may be hoping for on this record.
Vocally, the band’s frontman executes a vicious and ignited glimpse into what hell may be in voice format. Whether it’s some vitriolic black metal-esque screams or even some pure singing at the beginning of “Nobody’s Diary”, Viscera///’s encore and the CD’s closing track. It becomes clear that his strength lies at being an angry screamer, although his singing attempts are very refreshing to an otherwise vivaciously ‘metal’ CD. It’s no Crosby, Stills and Nash, but it goes well with the harmonised post-metal guitars that permeate the last track.
In there lies some more impenetrable riffwork and exceptional stick skills from the drummer, and it seems that two tracks isn’t enough for us to really get a full flavour of the Italian trio. However, their attempts do not go unnoticed and certainly possess more of a talking point than some who have attempted split CDs before. We can only get so far sometimes, but Viscera/// have done well here, even if it’s just for two songs.
On the whole, this split CD was a nice way to decompress. It’s refreshing to discover some new international bands who have talent and ability at various segments of the metal sphere so to speak, and the attempts that have been displayed are all showcased to an excellent standard. It may not break the mold of what they’re all trying to accomplish, but the listener can safely gauge how well each band may do in their full-lengths that should follow soon. Well done to all involved.
Listen to the split in full here.
1. Fleshworld – Krąg
2. Fleshworld – Pętla
3. Fleshworld – Rezygnacja
4. Gazers – Rash
5. Gazers – The Decline
6. Gazers – Epilogue
7. Viscera/// – Versus
8. Viscera/// – Nobody’s Diary