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Tankcrimes... again?! The label has been pumping out some of the greatest split line-ups of 2013, including the Municipal Waste/Toxic Holocaust Toxic Waste release in July and more recently the Exhumed/Iron Reagan split. Not only do these split albums come with two fairly well known artists, but also killer artwork and multiple limited colored vinyls to choose from; all for fairly reasonable prices. Thrown into the grinder this time around are death/thrash metal acts Cannabis Corpse and Ghoul. These two bands have two things in common; neither of them have released a new album in going on three years now, which is for-fucking-ever in the world of music, and they're both gore obsessed. Lets light up this zesty bowl of Splatterhash and hear what lays in wait for potential full-length releases.
The split title is fairly clever, playing off both bands as Splatterthrash was Ghoul's 2006 release and Cannabis Corpse are known for their play-on-words song and album titles; not to mention they growl about weed... a lot. Obvious facts aside, look at that fucking album cover, holy hell, it is so fucking sick! You guessed it, that's an album cover by Andrei Bouzikov, need I say more? Both bands are depicted in full in the artwork, surrounded by Cannabis Corpse's infamous carnivorous weed buds and completed with the feet of, what we are to assume, dead bodies. The tantalizing cover makes you want to pick it up and listen to the material instantly, even if you haven't previously heard of one of the bands or maybe both.
Land Phil is a busy man these days, he originally started out as the bassist in thrash metal/crossover party band Municipal Waste circa 2004 before forming Cannabis Corpse in 2006; who were initially (and mostly still are) a side project. Fast forward to 2012 and he has formed himself another side endeavor, this time enlisting the help of fellow Municipal Waste band mate Tony Foresta, under the name of Iron Reagan, but we'll get to that in another review. Weedgrinder (har har, Corpse Grinder, yeah), the initial vocalist for Cannibal Corpse, is no longer in the band and has left bassist Land Phil to fill in the gap; which is perfectly fine.
It's an obvious stitch to the band's presence, they're a complete parody band of the much more famous Cannibal Corpse. However while their song content was original, Weedgrinder's vocals were a burdensome mimicry in Corpse Grinder style. Splatterhash unveils Land Phil's vocals for the first time on a Cannabis Corpse recording and damn are they a heavenly-cool bong hit of fresh smoke. The content comes off a bit more aggressive than previous material and this is mostly attributed to the occasionally overlaid dual vocals that carry a somewhat Cattle Decapitation ala Monolith of Inhumanity quality to them. The rest of the ensemble's make-up remains the same as what fans will expect; prominent and twangy tremolo bass lines, hefty power chords, squealing solos, lighter distorted leads that chime in at unexpected moments, double bass drumming with insane drum rolls and all around refreshing song compositions. "The Inhalation Plague" and "Shatter Their Bongs" are two fleeting tracks filled with combative energy and a new, vibrant sound that will leave audiences anxiously awaiting a full-length release in the, hopefully, near future.
Ghoul, the nameless unknown creators of destruction, have at least had the courtesy to release a short cover EP since their last full-length release; which is much more than can be said for those stoners in Cannabis Corpse, which just goes to show that hiding dead bodies and grinding up limbs is more productive than toking a joint. Although it's not that much better considering the EP didn't come with any original tracks... murder can still be time consuming. Ghoul have retained their signature sound in the two songs listed, complete with semi B-grade audio quality. The vocals this time around still have the gruff metal growls but also tack on shrill, echo laden black metal backing vocals that gives the content a new depth of evil and depravity. The style centers around threatening death metal rather than furious grindcore or thrash; in fact the only thrash metal element that still clings on are the chants. Melodic solos abound and rhythmically paced drums pave the way for an old school experience that combines well with the aforementioned structures. "Inner Sanctum" embraces Ghoul's newly refined sound while "Spill Your Guts" brings back what older fans of the band will remember as the group's grindcore roots.
Splatterhash is a brutally gory assault on the ear drums that lasts for just over twelve minutes, teasing fans of each band to the near exploding point while simultaneously having the potential to reel in newcomers, but that is typically what splits are designed for; to keep the impatient patient, especially during lengthy times between main releases, and to reintroduce the bands to audiences. The content ends far too soon and another well thought out track by each band would push this release a little further. All in all this release is well worth the $13 USD that Tankcrimes are asking for over at their official distribution site. Pick up your copy on vinyl in either black in swamp green or black in silver; or as I like to call it resin in bud or black in smoke.
Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR
- Villi Thorne