After the break a review of their strong work together on this killer off label 7″.
Osk cooked up four songs for this record that are every bit as abrasive, as intuitively built as you’d expect from them, pulverizing in the same sense We Will Never Change was. If you’ve attended any show of theirs in the past two years you’ve probably heard most of the songs on this one, making them weirdly familiar by now. It’s great to finally get it all on wax with lyrics (with the added plus of Bridgeburner’s thrilling participation).
Speaking of, the lyrics, concepts and titles all remain to the point, cold, often with a penchant for detailing reality’s indifference as bluntly as possible. This has been a strong aspect of all Osk’s style and nothing changes here.
There is however no bandcamp or streaming page for their side so you’ll have to get the record now (do it) or check out my shitty cam captures of their shows on youtube from here on in. Appropriately enough “Continuous” is the first track on the record, and one they often play on stage. Here’s an example at Fastcore Fest last year, and also at a show with Column of Heaven at the now defunct Zoo Shop in Vancouver:
Those were both great shows, particularly the Zoo Shop; and of course the song is an excellent start to this record. That first tumbling intro riff, and the pause before rolling beat that gets shredded apart into a wild grind attack straight to the end. Osk’s song construction and execution are consistently impressive in their uncimplicated raw aggression. The songs here feel like a much welcomed spill over from their head-splitting 10″ We Will Never Change; though technically it was out, or at least recorded, prior to that record’s release.
The next song “Monotony” proceeds much the same getting to the core of a wasted life. And in fact is the next track they played the night of the previous video.
A serpentine approach at first compared to other material. The initial riff meandering at a d-beat pace, growing chunkier and gathering force. The three-way vocal attack coupled with bends and a sudden quickening beat with burst of crashing cymbals signal a climactic brawl. At a breakneck stride the riffs set off. Live the bass is exponentially stronger thickening the final push nicely.
“Certainty” was another play the same show. This track fucking slays, huge mangling bass line at the start, then a split into shredding powerchords. Particularly the final steam-rolling section under the lyrics “take refuge in one certainty / life ends in death”, it just scorches everything:
Undeniably killer grinding.
“Endless” is the only track I don’t have footage of but yeah I’ve heard it live a few times. Again it jumps straight in with screams and a jumpy rhythm and by the quick approach of the mid-point the song slows to a familiar flattening riff. The shortest of the bunch but no wimp.
What’s clear is consistency runs through both the strength of their material and their live shows, and the passion has not waned at all. The art on their side is grimy as all hell, capturing a stark reality that connects well with their lyrical imagery and crusty, metallic grind tone.
Now on to something different. Bridgeburner’s first recorded material since their 2012 split tape with the now dead SKUFF. Some of this I’ve heard in recent years at fastcore fest but until it went up on bandcamp and later on vinyl I wasn’t familiar with it. I know what I heard and saw live was striking, huge amounts of energy. And all of it translates here.
For a grind group they do heavy incredibly well. Their part on this split might sink many sludge acts. In fact especially towards the last song “Conduit” this might be the most filthy, low-end saturated material I’ve heard from them. Capturing a catastrophic force that pushes past the lines of hardcore, grind and powerviolence.
No printed lyrics in the physical press. In this way and in terms of the slow mutation of their sound it serves as a contrast to Osk: shorter songs, and lyrically obfuscated, the one track that isn’t short is huge and slow. Vocals swap between hoarse screams and shouts, and gravel roars.
A good gauge is the first track. From “Antigrainreality” and onward we get a sense of how bottom end and raw this side of the record is. Suffocating and filthy, a slow moment at the outset and then you’re buried by grind and gnawing shouts. The beat changes, the light comes back a few moments later with a rhythm that grips set with equally vile, gravelly vocals which trade-off lines, raising tensions.
“Free Thinker” is a mangler of a track. The sliding, grinding rhythms from the dual bass/guitar assault pack a huge amount of power only furthered by the incessant storm of drumming behind it. Suffocating powerviolence. Short, relying only on a few abrasive seconds to build a nasty little track.
“Incapacitate” tricks you into thinking the slow grainy sludge will stick around after the first few seconds, but it quickly mutates into another speedy assault, thrashing in the low-end.
“Anechoic” I caught live at Fastcore Fest in 2013:
Big spanning riff in the center with churning madness leading to a quick death.
On the closing track “Conduit” Bridgeburner get noisier, sludgier, expanding their sound further than heard in the past. Plodding and harsh contrasted sometimes by straight blasts. Near the last ten seconds it snaps back to raw grind to abruptly stop the track.
Not only is the grind strong, the design and packaging great as well. Black and white with lyrics only for Osk’s side, both pages of the gatefold display deterioration and decay, dark, layered urban decomposition.
In terms of material there’s no point in choosing sides. Osk and Bridgeburner wreck everything equally with this one.
Hopefully everyone else has been on this before me. If not, spend the money and get this shit now. It’s an excellent split between two of the area’s great punk groups and I recommend you check it out.
Check your distros and if you can’t find a copy check out Scream & Writhe as they definitely have some. A great way to get rid of some cash.