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Old-School Death Metal Gem - 70%

Death_Thrasher, April 25th, 2012

Now that I think about it, I find it odd that I've never followed up the purchase of this split 7", which was a random one based solely on artwork and the fact it was on coloured vinyl. But that is indeed the case, so I won't be making any comparisons to the bands' respective discographies here. What I do know is that this little release is a real gem of old-school death/grind for any fans of the genre.

On side A, we have Sea of Tranquillity's 'Berserk' which, despite the name is actually the more controlled of the tracks here. I'd place their sound somewhere between the vice-tight chug of Suffocation and the malevolent atmosphere of Morbid Angel. It's quite typical of early '90s USDM. The real highlight of the song however, comes when the band break out into a classic metal lead guitar duel. Fiery solos that mix melodic shredding with Slayer-esque chaos are traded furiously, contrasting nice with the oppressively heavy riffing that makes up the rest of the song. The Carcass-style backing vocals soon after are a nice touch too.

Side B brings a whole lot more chaos and fury in the shape of Num Skull's track 'Join the Family'. The production is harsher, reminiscent more of Scandinavian death metal or early grindcore in the vein of Repulsion. Num Skull's riffs flow a lot less smoothly than SoT's, the band instead going for a stop-start attack that blends a super-fast first half with a mid-paced chugging second half. They also have a shorter, though just as technically proficient, solo that breaks the song in two.

If you're a fan of good old bludgeoning death/grind, free from experimentation or excess melody (besides the solos) this is right up your street. Nothing original or ground-breaking here, but when you're being battered by riffs this badass you either won't care, or will have lost the ability to care.