AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED/DESPISE YOU - And on and on… (Split)
Relapse Records - 26th April 2011
To say people were excited about this split is like saying people were mildly annoyed at Hitler. Agoraphobic Nosebleed, who have established themselves as having a chameleon-esque ability to master various styles from grind to power violence, sludge and death metal, and partners in crime Despise You who have come back from a lengthy break together on one album. It’s a grind fan’s wet dream.
Despise You kick things off with 17 tracks of punky, fast paced grind. It starts well, with much of the anger that the Californians are known for but it quickly dawns that this can’t match up to their older material. The riffs on songs like Painted Grey are phoned in and would fit on any fast hardcore album and it would have been nice to see some slower stomps on here. It’s only when the uncharacteristically long Cedar Ave. kicks in at the very end of their side that you really see what Despise You are capable of.
Starting with a slow, sludgy stomp that drops in and out throughout the rest of the song it creates a feeling of dread as guitar lines clash and complement each other in equal measure. Even with the minimal of vocals it feels like the angriest track they bring to the table here and leads perfectly into ANB’s side which kicks off with the slow burning Half Dead.
It’s another angry stomper as Jay Randall has never sounded more furious, and yet it brings with it an almost Hang the Bastard style psychedelic, doom. Drawn out roars almost merging with the drawn out riffs behind it and it’s hard to believe this band once released a 20 minute album that contained 100 tracks. That grind fury quickly establishes itself on As Bad as it is… which is almost disappointing because while the added guitar solos do add something a bit different to proceedings it would have been nice had the sludgier side of this band be nurtured a little more rather than used as bookends to a selection of grind that by ANB’s standards is fairly half arsed.
People will love this; they’ll love it because of the bands involved and the status they hold. For me, this is for the people who have to own everything a band has done. For the more general fans this is two disappointments for the price of one with neither band giving us 100%.
by Matthew Tilt