Split albums generally feature artists at their best, and when they feature artists from a strong label like Throatruiner, there's almost no way to go wrong. Though I hadn't heard two of the artists on this three-way split before, I knew I wasn't going to be left disappointed by this one.
The album starts off with a pair of pieces from As We Draw. Their first song, "Fingers to Point," starts out characteristically enough with some unbridled screaming before building into a bass-churning hardcore-esque sludge fest. It then shifts gears into a pseudo-post-metal binge right up until the end, giving way to their second song. "Fingers to Stab," which delves into more hardcore proper territory, is certainly a much stronger piece than the first, featuring a lot of molten chugging to move it along before ending in a surprisingly cathartic instrumental buildup.
Euglena's trio of pieces start off with the impressive droner "Before After," with only a precious few powerful hits serving to break up the noise. Eventually, further than halfway through, the vocals finally enter, and though they bring along with them some semblance of structure, the piece nonetheless maintains its spacy emptiness. It's actually a very explosive piece for something that contains so little. It then segues into "After the Before," which starts off with some trashy thrashiness before taking a turn for the hardcore. This is actually my favourite piece on the whole EP, with the vocal work playing off the chaotic precision of the instrumentals quite well. Their third and final piece to the album, "Renaissance," is a pretty standard forced-triplet post-hardcore excursion. It's not as strong as the either two pieces, but rounds out their contributions well, ending in some grungy guitar churning.
Hexis starts their duo right out of the gate with some fast and furious work on "Crux", a frantic cacophony of noise. That all quickly gives way to a slower, ambient build of precision strikes that lasts for the meatier part of the six-minute piece. This then devolves into indecipherable guitar doodling that thankfully resolves into a slightly faster section, full of intense screams and machine-gun drumming that fade out the piece. "Nex" starts with more noise-based riffing and rapid-fire drumming that transitions into more of their characteristic artfully messy wall-of-noise playing. It's certainly a fitting closer to an incredibly intense half an hour.
This was a shockingly powerful EP to listen to, and both Euglena and Hexis have won me over with their performances here. As We Draw, the only band I'd heard before, still delivered a strong performance, but their pieces here didn't hold up nearly as well to the wonderful material of Lines Breaking Circles. Regardless, it's a solid, powerful split that I highly recommend to fans of hardcore and the crunchier varieties of post-metal.
7.0 / 10
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