The cassette seems to be making a comeback, judging by the increasing number of bands choosing this format to release their material. This particular cassette is a split between Exeter based Grindcore trio, Human Cull and Toronto based grind/noise quartet Homolka.
Side One: Human Cull
I had heard rumours that for this split Human Cull would be doing something a bit different from their usual compositions. I had not anticipated just how different it would be. This one track, 'Cities Become Graves', a full thirteen minutes on length totally turns upside-down everything about them you ever knew or expected, given their last full length album was just eight minutes long and eleven tracks.
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It starts fast and manic, just as you would expect for a Human Cull track, but then tempo drops down several notches, allowing the technicalities of the construction of the track to be fully appreciated. Further in it becomes even more slow and intense, almost doom laden. Add to this dark sinister vocals that are excellent, harsh, deep and at times in the slower elements, almost torturous gutturals and screams.
The tempo gradually builds back up to for the final three minutes before a sustained slower finale.
The excellent dirty, distorted and often hugely sustained riffs and range of tempo keeps you engrossed throughout the whole thirteen minutes this atmospheric masterpiece. I was absolutely blown away by this track for so many reasons; it is so different from their previous work and really shows the high level of competency and musician ship within this band.
This is a forerunner to their second full length which should be out sometime in 2013 and if it is as good as this I will be fighting my way to the front of the queue for a copy.
Side Two: Homolka
This is the second release from Canadian grind/noise quartet Homolka, the follow up to their demo in 2012. The opening track and my favourite track of the six, 'Urchins In An Urn', the title no doubt a reference the the crimes of the Canadian female torturer/killer they are named after, opens with sustained sonic squeals which stand as a complete contrast to the grind elements and this is, to the greater part, the format maintained across the whole of their side of the split, making it at times a challenging but none the less interesting listen, adding depth to the sound, as does the use of twin vocalists.
The six tracks total six minutes and in some ways reflect where Human Cull were with their previous full length. Some of the titles of the tracks raised a wry smile with me; 'Rob Ford Doesn't Care About Gay People', is dedicated, somewhat scathingly and most likely deservedly, to the current Mayor of Toronto.
I loved 'Doped Up, Bloated And Rotting On A Toilet (Fuck Your Stupid Hipster/Rockabilly Boyfriend)' just for the title.
'Seth Putnam Isn't Dead, I Just Saw Him At The Oak Leaf Steam Baths', a touching, if that is possible with Grindcore, tribute to the late Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt, the 'GG Allin of Grindcore'.
At seven seconds long blink and you will miss 'Book Us, Matt Cuthbet'. Final track 'Marx Work Warehouse' is the longest track of the six and almost as long as the other five in total slower and darker in places than its predecessors and is another noteworthy track.
All in all this is not a bad effort for their second offering. The tracks were recorded and mixed by Phil Miller in the Dino Den (Toronto). The band is working towards a full length to be released later this year.