Label: Unquiet Records
Featuring three different bands, this release from Unquiet Records is a great example of how different sounds can sit comfortably alongside each other. Fleshworld bring a mix of hardcore and post-metal; Gazers offer a mix of post-millennial screamo and heavy post-hardcore; whilst Viscera combine psychedelic metal and sludge. It’s a mix of sounds, and comes across on paper like it shouldn’t work together, yet this is actually a very interesting, captivating split, that does each band justice and keeps the listener coming back for more. No band dominates the others, and despite their differences, the three bands complement one another well.
Fleshworld open proceedings, with their post-metal/hardcore sound bringing to mind the likes of the first two Cult Of Luna albums, Envy, Isis, and even touches of the heavier, weightier ends of post-2000 hardcore. It’s music that packs a real punch, with very obvious strength and aggression. Yet there is also a sense of melody and movement, with moments that are beautiful and moving. There’s as much emotional heaviness here as there is musically. “Pętla” in particular practically shimmers in an Oceanic way, building tension before releasing it in a gloriously violent storm, whilst “Rezygnacja” is dark, brooding, and ominous. Post-metal may no longer be in fashion like it was a few years ago, but it’s wonderful to hear a band still playing it with such passion and skill.
Gazers also know how to build tension, with their first song “Rash” spending almost a minute and a half building itself up, before unleashing some Dillinger-esque guitar stabs, that combine with an undeniably catchy riff to produce something very impressive. This is screamo that doesn’t forget the violence and volume, hardcore that is undeniably hard-hitting. “The Decline” and “Epilogue” show that this is no fluke, and their contribution to the excellent output by French hardcore bands of recent years is worth paying attention to. These songs wear their heart on their sleeve, dripping with aggression and emotion, and their sincerity and strength is undeniably. Fans of post-Converge bands should take note. These songs are prime examples of how to combine heaviness and emotion.
Finally, Viscera offer two very different songs. Psychedelic metal in the most heavy of ways, “Versus” moves through constant changes of emphasis and tempo with ease, the almost nine minutes of its duration flying back, such is the skill of these Italians. Even more impressive is the way that the song feels as if it has constant direction and focus, something many longer songs lack, taking the listener on an almost cinematic journey. They follow it up with a cover of Yazoo’s “Nobody’s Diary”, which could well be a disaster, but ends up being a complete success. The 80s synth-pop melody played on heavy guitar may be too much for some, and the growled vocals are a far cry from Alison Moyet’s originals, but it does not come across simply as a joke. Instead, it’s that most un-cool of things in extreme music circles: unashamedly good fun. It’s the sign of a band who don’t care what others think, and more power to them for that.
Overall, Unquiet Records have brought together three bands each offering something different, but with enough mutual points of musical interest that it’s hard to imagine anyone listening to this split and enjoying one band, whilst disliking the others. And unlike most splits, it’s a record that is likely to see multiple plays as a whole, rather than on just one section. This is a very worthwhile release, with three worthwhile but different bands.