Here are some thoughts about two new splits I’d like to recommend, with streaming music for each. They make for quite a contrast.
CORTEZ / BORACHO
My last mention of DC’s Borracho came in connection with a video, which combined a stunning piece of music from the band’s 2011 debut Splitting Sky with a stunning piece of film; since then, Borracho have released several short works and, in 2013, a new album (Oculus). Cortez are from Boston, and this split was my first exposure to their music. The new split will be a 7″ vinyl from AM Records scheduled for shipping around April 1, and a pre-order of the vinyl will bring you an immediate download of the music on Bandcamp.
Each band contributed one song to the split. Borracho’s “Know My Name” is a real skull-breaker. The riff is king, but a king so soaked in radioactivity that the Geiger counter is going off the scale. It’s ultra-swampy and ultra-groovy, a stoner metal monster with a chorus meant for sing-alongs (except few people will be able to hit Steve Fisher’s gritty highs). Awesome track.
Matt Harrington’s wails also go high on the Cortez song, “Vanishing Point”. It’s an up-tempo rocking joint that’s a good soundtrack for getting beery and busting up the joint. A catchy, punchy, promising introduction to this band for those (like me) who haven’t come across them before.
UNRU / PARAMNESIA
Unru are a German band whose previous work I’ve really enjoyed. Last November I reviewed another Unru split, that one with Sun Worship. Paramnesia are from France, and I hadn’t heard any of their music before this new release. The split will be shipped on 12″ vinyl by a consortium of different distros and each song is also available digitally on Bandcamp (“name your price”). The very cool cover art is by Businessforsatan (the alter ego of Pierre Perichaud, who’s also a member of Paramnesia).
Both of the songs on the split are substantial, with Unru’s coming in at almost 13 minutes and Paramnesia’s having a run-time of nearly 15.
Unru’s song is entitled “Die Welt in der wir sterben”. In the long intro, ghostly voices and a trilling guitar echo through a shroud of building distortion. When the assault eventually begins in full force, the percussive thunder rolls and chiming guitar notes pierce the storm front, and those ghostly voices turn into agonizing roars and icy shrieks. The guitar generates waves of somber melody that move through the music like sheets of wind-blown rain, and then ring like ethereal bells when the storm inevitably subsides near the end. This is atmospheric, melodic black metal with a modernistic, post-metal bent that justifies the long run-time — and fully warrants giving Unru your continued attention.
The Paramnesia track is entitled “III”. It begins slowly with heavy, doom-drenched, sludge-like chords and reverberating guitar notes that trace a melancholy melody. But, like Unru’s track, it soon enough shifts into high gear, with a ripping wall of tremolo’d fury and acrobatic drum fills. Echoing howls and shrieks struggle to be heard from behind the scything riffs and jet-fueled drumming. A trilling guitar melody rises above the surging power in the low end, accented by an active bass line.
Near the mid-point, another sludge/doom segments brings the pace down, providing space for the emergence of wraith-like guitar notes and a spotlight on the drummer’s continuing star-turn behind the kit. In the long concluding segment, the band move back and forth, erupting again in a riveting display of instrumental skill and dark, driving melody, and ultimately dropping into a droning, ambient finish.
This is s largely instrumental track that crosses several genres, and reminded me at different points of bands such as Deafheaven and Ash Borer. I am completely transfixed by it.
In a nutshell, this is a superb split by two bands who deserve a lot more attention.