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Grief : He's No Good to Me Dead (Split with Bongzilla, Negative Reaction, Sourvein and Subsanity)

A full-length CD shared by five bands from the grimy underground where doom metal is mixed with core and rage.

Let me ask a question which I believe this CD warrants: How many bands can appear on a disk before it can no longer be called a split? I don't think a line can be defined with perfect clarity, but I believe it all comes down to how much effort each band put into it. Take for example 'He's No Good to Me Dead': If the split had been separated into five disjoined releases, then each band had still provide enough in terms of length and substance to warrant an EP status. Terminology aside, what I'm trying to say is that this CD is a more essential part of each of their discographies than a mere appearance on a V/A compilation, and thus you as a listener likewise get something more substantial from each band while also getting the chance to experience the younglings (most of whom since have made sturdy names for themselves) of the scene as well as proven quality by seasoned veterans. In other words, win-win!

Negative Reaction had at this point almost a decade behind them, but even so this was their longest effort at that point. It would take another year before their debut album came out. Yet a decade of expereince does not deny itself, their crusty and stonery doom/sludge was clearly made by musicians who knew how to put grimness onto a tape. They are also the most experimental of the lot, tossing in bouncing riffage and post rock before drowning it in Eyehategod-ugliness. It seems an unlikely combination and I would not find it unreasonable that this is why they needed this much time before they released anything major. Even so, it has to be said that their sophistication has only increased since this.

Next, gracing the split with their presence, is Grief, the Veterans with a big 'V'. And, truly, it's hard to wrong with Grief - well, usually at least. What they have created for this shared disk hold surprisingly little doom metal. Oh, it is there - in fact 'Tarpar' is a pure doom/sludge track in their customary style - but both 'Time to Face Your Chake' and 'Suffer in Silence' are predominantly sludgy hardcore tracks. Perhaps not what the average Grief fan was looking for. Yet, as hardcore goes, it's quite allright.

Subsanity also has a need for a higher pace, at one point even going all the way into grindcore, though not without visiting the realm of doom in several songs. Their overall style varies between the deathish hardcore of Deadbodieseverywhere and mid-paced filth in the Eyehategod-vein. I doubt the combination would be much appreciated by the average sludge-doomster and Subsanity is also the only band on this split who has yet to make their name widely known.

And now for something completely humpy: the filthy muggles of Bongzilla. Their first live track sound like abused children jumping in a slimy bouncy-castle, the second like they have been adopted and drugged by Corrupted. Both good starting points for decent doom/sludge if you ask me, and they have since become known in particular for the first style.

On their first split 7" they labeled themselves as Sour Vein; on this, their second effort, they decided to spice up their 'S' with a dollar mark; yet they weren't satisfied with either and now they are simply known as Sourvein. And known they have truly become, almost to the degree that they've become household in the doom/sludge circle. They really deliver on this release, so much so in fact that I would claim that their contribution is its biggest selling point. Their properly oldschool doom/sludge (adherent to Eyehategod) is as tormented and foul as the genre needs to be. Sadly, there was supposed to be five tracks of theirs on this split, but even if 'Plead the 5th' was listed on the back of the cover it never made it on to the disk. Ah well, the remaining four still made the split worth my time.

On the whole I would say that the quality of the contributions vary somewhat. None are bad, but it drags the split slightly more towards average rather than towards excellence. Then again, there is something undescribable about this split which appeals to me. I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but I guess I will recommend 'He's No Good to Me Dead' to anyone, like me, who's into this shit and who find a cheap copy on eBay, or the likes.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
Negative Reaction:
1. MMU Man
2. Cosmic Vertical Overlap
3. Hurtling Through the Cosmos

4. Time to Face Your Chake
5. Tarpar
6. Suffer in Silence

7. World of Scum
8. Spaced Wizards
9. Cursed Chains
10. Fodder for the Dumb
11. Frozen Sunset

12. Trinity (live)
13. Witch Weed (live)

$our Vein:
14. Waste of Mine
15. Uneasy
16. Intake
17. Bearing Me Not
18. Plead the 5th *

* This track is listed on the back of the cover, but doesn't actually appear on the disk itself.

Visit the Bongzilla bandpage.
Visit the Negative Reaction bandpage.
Visit the Sourvein bandpage.
Visit the Subsanity bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 74 minutes

Visit the Grief bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-03-07 by Arnstein H. Pettersen
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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