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It would come as little surprise to anyone that the prospect of a release like this is a pretty thrilling one to me. Two of my favorite goregrind bands of all time on a split together, even if their styles are not exactly the most complementary in the world, is a pretty phenomenal idea. XXX Maniak and Lymphatic Phlegm have both cemented themselves previously as easily in the top tier of modern goregrind with previous releases, and this CD continues the trend, with extremely solid to excellent working submitted by both artists. It can be said already that if you're a fan of either band, you should absolutely pick this up. But if you need more detail...
This is right around the level of this band incredible 'Harvesting The Cunt Nectar' EP and may even exceed it at points. The style is mostly the same as that earlier release: very fast, ripping goregrind with a multi-vocal attack, bizarre homemade samples, and extremely clean and mechanical production. The tracks are short, malignant little numbers dominated by blasting and frantic yet memorable tremolo riffing. Now a lot of people would point to XXX Maniak as a novelty band with their ultra-short tracks, demented song titles, and overall off-kilter feel, but no other novelty band seems to have crafted music as strong and enduring as this one. All questions about whether it's a joke band or not aside, the material on this split is just as strong as 'Harvesting The Cunt Nectar' and actually signals a slight shift and sharpening of style.
If possible, the production has actually become even clearer and heavier on this release; the bass and treble presences are massive and ultra-clear, and just about every note is a joy to listen to because of this. In many ways, the music on this side of the split seems a bit more 'songy' and less impulsive than the material on 'Harvesting The Cunt Nectar'; this does have XXX Maniak's longest song to date in the surprisingly varied and multifaceted 'There Is No Way To Protect Your Family' which closes out their side. This is actually loaded with tracks that really stand out from each other; 'Harvesting The Cunt Nectar' had a tend to blur into itself with its microtracks (in a good way), but here each song seems like a more distinct unit in and of itself. Certainly some are instant classics for XXX Maniak; 'Ghost Torturing Dance Party', 'Boys Forced Into Prostitution', 'Illegal Teens Do Anything For Money', and 'Chicks Fucking Landlords For Rent' are all remarkably catchy.
I'm not sure that the atmosphere on this manages to be QUITE as malignant and demented as on 'Harvesting The Cunt Nectar'; that CD really stands out as one of the more insane items in my collection as far as mood goes. If it doesn't, it comes very close, and in any regard, the songwriting is absolutely up to par, with riffs and vocal rhythms that stick to your head long after the CD is back in its case. Any XXX Maniak fan should of course pick this up; it's almost just as necessary as the debut EP to one's collection.
Positioning Lymphatic Phlegm second on the split is sort of an awkward suggestion; you're riding the high off XXX Maniak's hyperspeed tracks and suddenly you get something slower, with worse production, and an absolutely bizarre mood shift. This side of the CD is pretty much par for the course for post-'Pathogenesis Infest Phlegmsepsia' Lymphatic Phlegm. Some of the most overt '70s influences found on the earlier split with Torsofuck have been excised, and the music overall feels like a more measured and considered version of what was on that split CD. Overall this is most comparable to material like the split with Neuro-Visceral Exhumation: fairly typical Lymphatic Phlegm material that is quite listenable without ever really reaching the exceptional level of some of their releases.
Lymphatic Phlegm is entrenched in their typical style on this: vaguely Carcass-derived goregrind with a very fake drum machine, bizarre, pseudo-melodic riffing borrowing heavily from thrash and traditional heavy metal, and indecipherably distorted vocals, with everything caked in enough reverb to make a claustrophobe have a heart attack on first listen. The production is shifted around very slightly on this; vocals and drums seem louder while guitar is pushed back, but the striated, very rounded tone of the guitar is intact, as is the general character of the music. The only real complaint I have about Lymphatic Phlegm's side of the split is the overall lack of remarkability; if you've heard other Lymphatic Phlegm material, you've more or less heard all of this before, just with slightly different riffs and production.
This is certainly one of the less essential Lymphatic Phlegm releases; the first full-length album or the split with Flesh Grinder would be a much better investment. Of course, for serious Lymphatic Phlegm fans, every release is totally necessary. There's certainly nothing wrong with the material on this side of the CD, but I do feel that with a little more effort it could have been much more.
XXX Maniak's side is really worth the price of admission here; this goes over a bit better if you sort of consider the Lymphatic Phlegm side a set of glorified bonus tracks. Anyone who's a dedicated fan of either band of course already has this, but if you're a lighter sort of goregrind fan, the XXX Maniak side at the very least is worth a look. I listen to this quite regularly but I tend to tune out a bit when Lymphatic Phlegm kicks in; I think they were a bit lazy on this one and it shows. XXX Maniak, though, shines as always.
I was very excited to see XXX Maniak and Lymphatic Phlegm sharing a split. Having listened to and enjoyed "Harvesting the Cunt Nectar" and "Pathogenesis Infest Phlegmspepsia" for a long time prior to discovering this split existed, I knew I had to obtain a copy of this album. I was lucky enough to find the split for purchase at a Rumplestilskin Grinder concert and took it home for a listen.
After several listens, I've come to realize that the album is fairly-typical content wise for both bands: XXX Maniak deliver songs comprised of more than 50% sample and several seconds of drum machine/guitar noise, Lymphatic Phlegm provide their typical ridiculous blackened goregrind with amusingly lengthy meaningless pathology titles. The split even produces a few solid songs :"Chicks Fucking Landlords For Rent" is a solid thrash-type song, and "There Is No Way To Protect Your Family" provides some nice, solid slow death metal. (I won't say much about the Lymphatic Phlegm section, as it really didn't keep my attention as much as other albums and I get sick of remembering which ridiculous song title went with what riffs I enjoyed.)
The problem is, neither band is really at their strongest here. "Harvesting the Cunt Nectar" was able to have microsongs and long samples because the album flowed seamlessly. The samples blended together, and the tracks transitioned flawlessly. Here, songs have more solid beginnings and endings. This doesn't sound like a problem, but when you're writing tracks like "Fuck Snake Warriors" and "Ghost Torturing Dance Party", they need to blend together. An album such as this ought to form an experience rather than a collection of songs. Very few people will actually sit down and casually pick out their favorite tracks for an iPod playlist. That's not what XXX Maniak is for.
The album gets a 60, almost entirely for the fact I did enjoy the few tracks I mentioned. I feel sort of let down by this CD in retrospect.