As soon as the needle hits this I can tell it's gonna be right up my alley. WAR//PLAGUE is made up of some long time Minneapolis punk veterans and their side of this split LP just seethes with passion and strength.
With members coming from bands such as CALLOUSED, PONTIUS PILATE and PROVOKED you know it's gonna' be a crusty metallic attack, and it is. Holding true to their roots WAR//PLAGUE erupt into this with a storm-leaden mix of heavy metal, crust and thrash. There is good variety between the songs with some raging hard, fast and thrashy, and others slowing to a more mild pace and becoming more like a sludgy metallic ANTISECT.
I really like what these guys have to say in their lyrics, especially about community. Some thoughtfulness and desire to see a better scene and not just another record mired in the easy criticism of our fucked up world. Oh, but there is plenty of bleak visions of the world here too. I also like the fact that you can understand the barking vocals and that they are not just guttural noise like so many bands. The recording is kinda raw and raspy with a slightly blown out sound that actually adds to the overall quality of this. Killer apocalyptic metallic crust.
POLICE BASTARD on the flipside are definitely at the top of their game. They hail from Birmingham, England and they uphold the musical heritage of that city for sure. And with members that have come out of such classic U.K. hardcore punk bands like DOOM, SORE THROAT, ENGLISH DOGS and CONTEMPT it is no wonder that this carries the power that it does.
There is something really unique about this that I cannot put my finger on. Thick and droning guitars that have a kinda tech feel to them. This has anarcho-punk running thru it but the metal, crust and even a dab of industrial that is blended into it make it a well-rounded punch to the face indeed. The songs have a great pace to them that seem faster than they really are in a GAUZE-y kinda way. Well thought out lyrics attacking racism, 'normal' life and free-market capitalism show that the anger these guys had as younger men still burns.
One track, called Erosion really stands out for me with its powerful music and sharp lyrics. POLICE BASTARD includes two covers on their side. The first is 'Blasphemy Squad' by RUDIMENTARY PENI and the other is 'I Wish' by THE MOB. Normally, I would cringe at having two out of six songs being covers, but these are done so spot on that they do exactly what a good cover should do...remind you how much you really love a song. Their version of RP is cool and quirky and their interesting arrangement of it really works well. The MOB cover is near perfect and makes for an awesome end to this great LP.
The artwork by Denver based artist, GOST, both on the cover and on the insert is dark and moving and helps to make this a real stand out release.