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Bastard of the Skies / Grimpen Mire > Bastard of the Skies / Grimpen Mire > Reviews > caspian
Bastard of the Skies / Grimpen Mire - Bastard of the Skies / Grimpen Mire

Decent little split - 72%

caspian, June 1st, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, 12" vinyl, Future Noise Recordings (Limited edition)

For a little while I've generally listened to space rock and a crazy amount of ambient so it's a nice change putting an album on and hearing really big riffs. This neat little split is a rather effective little beast; super ideal for anyone who wants to hear some hard out riffs with little else.

Bastard of the Skies open the split, and from the first song it's immediately obvious as to what's on offer. Sludgesludgesludgesludgesludge with the fury of a thousand suns.There's a lot of hardcore, a bit of Iron Monkey, super early Isis, a bit of Sourvein/EHG etc, probably more Pantera than they'd like to admit- yeah, this isn't groundbreaking stuff but it's really entertaining. BoTS don't tend to stuff around too much, delivering simple tunes full of monolithic riffs, a bunch of yelling and the occasional, but very effective tempo/dynamic change- that brief quieter part in Bao Fu with the marvellously effective drumming, the b ig drop in tempo between Wounded and the titanic side-closer Old Vessels.

Success via simplicity, really. You get the sense that these guys have really defined their sound- they know what they're going for and that's what they achieve. The riffs approach a Hellhammer-esque nonmusicalness more often than not, and it's a wonderful thing to behold. Ugly, generally crushingly heavy, with the tunes being tightly crafted such that none of them overstay their welcome. We're not talking a groundbreaking band, but we are talking a very entertaining one, a very heavy one; and I'd take that over a band trying to shoehorn latvian electronica or whatever into their sound.

Onto Grimpen Mire, who have one of the coolest band names in the history of the world. Effectively,this side of the split is more of the same, but a bit more confused- if you'd told me that Grimpen Mire was Bastard of the Skies' old name, I'd believe you. There's much potential but you can tell they haven't really locked in their identity yet.

Grimpen's approach is perhaps a bit more all over the shop; it's all pretty slow and knuckle dragging but there's straight out stoner doom parts (Fragments of Forgotten Craft even gets a bit Candlemass-y), a few moments that almost approach beatdown hardcore- if there's a genre that prides itself on being slow and heavy, these guys attempt it. Their weakness, perhaps, is attempting too much- Vermin Hive a good enough example of this, a solid enough start that goes pretty directionless when an interlude is attempted. Based on the three song sample here, you'd argue that GM would be better if they gave up on variety and just played the stupidest riffs they could find- they certainly seem better crunching away at mosh-inspiring numbers than attempting epics. That all said, they aren't a bad band, and there's plenty of cool crushing moments throughout their side- the organ part in their closer is certainly a very cool moment that Candlemass, Wounded Kings etc would get stoked on- but they're not quite there, not yet.

All up then- one very solid band, and one ok-but-not-bad band. I've heard worst splits and I'm sure most people have too- certainly recommended listening if you like stuff that's slow and heavy and very unmelodic.