Bent Sea/To Dust: Ascend/Descend split EP – CD Review2nd July 2016
A grindcore split EP? The only phrase guaranteed to make me smile more than this is “all you can eat pie buffet”, but that’s a different story. Here we have two bands, Bent Sea and To Dust.
Between them there are members of Napalm Death, Aborted, Severed Remains and Black Dahlia Murder, creating two grindcore supergroups. This is as close as you’ll get to an Emerson, Lake and Palmer of extreme metal. Starting off with the Bent Sea side of the record, we clearly have a band that might struggle to perform live. Dirk Verbeuren plays guitar and drums, but even with his obvious talent he surely can’t manage to do both at once.
Sven De Caluwe of Aborted is on vocal duties and Shane Embury (yes, that Shane Embury) is the bassman. To the Extreme kicks it off and it makes you wonder. This kind of music is still extreme, but is this the most extreme you’ll ever hear? No, no it’s not, but it’s not bad. There is no real new ground being broken here and it’s not necessary.
The opener and Caged Cruelty are short, sharp, sonic blast shocks that hint at early Napalm Death and it is a little disappointing when you get to track three and find that they also serve up some longer and slower numbers (although not exactly ballads). To sum up Bent Sea: it’s a decent offering musically – and fair play to them for their use of music to promote animal liberation and social justice – but it’s not the best grindcore you’ll ever hear.
Flip over to the To Dust side and it’s a different story. Is it louder? Possibly. Or maybe Bent Sea were quieter.
Whatever it is, this is clearly better produced and benefits massively from it. This instantly stands out as the heavier of the two offerings. Again it’s a band that couldn’t play live with its current line-up – Thomas Haywood Jr being responsible for both guitar and bass. Zach Gibson is the powerhouse behind the drums and Joe Reed completes the trio on screaming duties.
Amaryllis opens with a killer riff and quickly assaults you with a blast-beat of drumming and trademark grindcore vocals. This is the absolute nuts when it comes to this kind of music. Their half of the EP continues in the same vain. It made me feel the same way I felt when I first heard Extreme Conditions… by Brutal Truth.
By the time you get to Hegemonic Scars you’ll feel sad that it’s all over and crave more.
So, To Dust: this is a solid five tracks of brutality that can be enjoyed again and again until your ears fall off.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (6 for Bent Sea, 9 for To Dust)
To the Extreme
Ascend/Descend is out on July 22nd on Give Praise Records.
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