lördag 11 juni 2011

Splitsville pt 1: Shock and awe

Converge/Dropdead - Split
2011, Self released, distributed by Deathwish

I've always been a fan of the split single concept, where two bands share the running time on a record, almost as if in a duel. Preferably a seven inch vinyl single (yes, I have a thing for vinyl eps). When it works, as it does in this case, it is, by far, my favourite format, because there are none of the drawbacks of a full length release. The two bands ensure that there is no risk of boredom if they're stylistically well matched: not too similar but equally not too disimilar. The brief running time equally ensures there will be no risk of shit dragging on indefinately. It also ensures that the bands are at their very best and that their material is top notch. This little gem is short but fairly intense. It features one track from Converge and Dropdead respectively. The sound quality is excellent on both tracks, even if I've yet only listened to the songs in their digital form; distinct and warm but with a slight dirtiness. The Dropdead track is slightly less heavy on the bass end of things and a bit more metallic but that's only natural considering the style they play. Converge opens up with the utterly raging, yet still emotional, Runaway, sticking to the weirdly catchy but aggressive note they struck on Axe To Fall with tracks like Dark Horse and the title track. Choppy, fast-paced and with that bouncy structure that's almost danceable, with added bursts of blast beats and violently shrieked vocals. As I said, it's catchy in an odd Converge way: there are lots of twists and turns in the song, from blasts of speed to short choppy breaks to midtempo rages and with hints of searing discordant melodies deep in the mix. But the song never gets uninspired or unstructured. It's only two minutes long, but it's definately one of the better songs I've heard from the band.
Dropdeads track, Paths Of Glory, rips right through you in just over ninety seconds but it does so with an amazing feel for fast hardcore punk with a bit of eighties sensibility. There is not even a hint of power violence or fastcore on this track; instead they get a more traditional hardcorepunk vibe going, which probably works better in this context. There is more than enough aggression going on to balance the hints of melody buried underneath. I get a distinctly anthemic World Burns To Death feel from this track, which is no bad thing. All in all a very wonderful little record.

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