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This four-way split is a pretty cool piece. Each section of roughly four minutes comes from a different band and a different variation of grindcore, so each one has some time to shine, but not enough time to become monotonous as it probably would if it were any longer. Nasum are the only band with lyrics available, and while they're probably the best of them, that's not saying much.
Nasum start out this split with some of their noisier grind, finding time for a sick groove during "Fur" and another to kick off "Smile When You're Dead, but mostly blasting through the rest of their eight tracks that span under four minutes. Nasum's signature gruff barks carry them throughout, with a bit of call and response with the higher-pitched growls. While the music is strong, the lyrics on this one include some of the worst of Nasum's career, maybe even worse than "Corpse Flesh Genitals":
Raped by a soldier! / Bombsplittered baby! / Spawn of a warfuck!
Retaliation play Carcass-inspired grind. Very grinding with gurgling vocals, hardly any clarity in guitar riffing. Each song follows the same formula - slightly slower 1-2-3-4 hitting part, then blasting and grinding away for the remaining 15-30 seconds. The song titles hint that the lyrics are also inspired by early Carcass. Surprise surprise, a Carcass clone on a grindcore split! They do it quite well, and it doesn't get old in the three and a half minutes they take up. The brevity might strengthen this one though, as any longer and one might start to look for something to stand out a bit more than the obvious shift between bands. This could easily be any Carcass clone or Carcass B-sides, but there's hardly any time to question it.
Vivisection play a very deathy style of grindcore that shows plenty of influence from early Napalm Death and Terrorizer. Most of the vocals are guttural growls, but there are some high pitched vocals that cut through the mix a bit too much and feel pretty annoying, though they're sparse enough to enjoy the grind. Reminds me of the vocalist of Rorschach mixed with Eyehategod. Once again, it's just under four minutes of grind, so it is nice and concise. Any more and I'd probably start looking for a way to stab their vocalist through the record with the needle.
CSSO play a gurgly, slightly sludgy grind that reminds me of Exit-13. There's a low-pitched death growler, a gurgler, and a high-pitched gurgler that mix the vocals up a bit. The guitars and bass are very bass-heavy. The drums are thin and constantly blasting. The variety of vocals is quite nice considering the music doesn't vary much. There's almost a bit of a stoner/doom feel to it, which really reinforced the Exit-13 comparison. Sludgy grind is nice, and it gives one last contrast to the split.
Perhaps my favorite grind core split album of this type of old school grind and gore. Every band does their best on this compilation that is what makes this album especially good and also very rare. Usually on a split some one will out do the other one or something of the such will happen, but on this one all of the bands play on par with each other playing excellent grind core and each would stand its ground as a separate demo, too.
The Nasum side is the first one on this recording, and is from the best era of Nasum in my opinion, when they played particularly harsh grind. All their songs sounded roughly the same, the formula is basically awesome riff, blast beta to awesome riff, double time version of blast beat, awesome riff 2, blast, end. All this in less than 1 minute! With grind core, I do not mind formulaic riffs like that, because of the simplicity raw speed and power of the music that really counts and noting else. They have a few 20-second songs on here like ‘Warfuck’ and other such epics, and I always appreciate that type of shit on a grind release, seeing as it helps to add some color into the genre.
Next is my favorite Swedish gore band (well, one of them) Retaliation, and on this release they are better than on any other one. Their later stuff is also awesome but on this recording they managed to capture a face of the band that is so hideous and shocking, it made me cream my pants. These guys are seriously evil sounding on this recording, the riffing is almost black metal under the blast beats, which are a good 70% of the drum tracks. The rest of the time it is either nursery rhyme simplicity chord plucking madness or sick d-beat stuff. And the vocals sound like the most disgusting demonic shit because of the awesomely calibrated vocal distortion. Seriously very few people can really lay it down with the vocal distortion, it is a fine art. Too low and it sounds like the lame shit CBT play, not enough and it just sounds like the backing vocals on Excruciating Terror. Both of these are good, but too do something entirely new like the guy on Last Days of Humanity and use the vocal distortion as an instrument in and of itself. This guy manages and that is awesome. Over all this shit sounds great, their songs are short and real sweet, no holds barred, no intros or anything, just straight gore.
Next is Vivisection and they are also one of those bands that did the right thing at the right time like Retaliation. They also managed to capture a really good recording with this one, and they play old school grind core like Napalm Death, Phobia, Terrorizer, except more blast beats and more wackiness, and a definite hard core edge. They still play grind, it is not anything else, but the riffs are sometimes circle pit inducing, and sometimes sound like old hard core. But over all there is plenty of blasting and intensity and double timed shit, and many many Nausea, Terrorizer riffs to go around.
And last but not least my least favorite grind core band CSSO. Even they do all right on this album, and this is one of the two albums of theirs that I actually like. Here they do not play grind rock yet, instead they still play somewhat average, absolutely insane and whacky gore grind. Lots of really short tracks and weird samples in the good old Japanese vein of things with good high end choking and gurgling, and nice pitch shifted funny vocals. Since their 7 songs end in just under as many minutes, it is a good break form the rest of the album, and perhaps that is why I can appreciate it. All in all it is a sweet fucking record, and can stand its place amongst the absolute best split releases of all time.