I have long been a fan of the split record format for a few reasons. The simplest one being a matter of attrition—two bands, one record. Sometimes it is seasoned vets paired with upstarts, like Misery and Hellspawn. Other times it’s the covers idea—each band's songs being covers of songs originally performed by the other bands, like the BYO Records split series from the late ‘90s/early ‘00s. And there are those rare occasions when a split record can be the landmark for an entire movement, much the way the Life’s Halt/What Happens Next? pairing, Start Something was the defining moment of the short-lived “Bandanna Thrash” revival at the turn of the century. However, I find more often than not, the split format is best served as a purpose of introduction. Such is the case with this latest 7” from Give Praise Records—Backslider and Nimbus Terrifix. While this is not a first release for either band, it’s probably their largest scale output thus far.
Side A features Backslider, a guitar and drums grindcore duo from Philadelphia, PA. The songs are fairly short—clocking in around the minute range—but create the illusion of being lengthier because there are slower, stoner-like drone elements incorporated throughout. However, it leans more to the hardcore side of things than it does the metal—surprisingly, the lack of low-end is for the most part unnoticeable. The vocals are quite intelligible when compared to the chipmunk-on-nitrous-style often associated with the genre. As far as comparisons go, I would say it’s like Buddha from Blood For Blood singing for Unholy Grave. Lyrically, Backslider touches on a number of political topics—among them; human rights, war, and animal cruelty. The song “Marrow Turns To Dust” is described as “A straight man’s take on the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” and another, titled, “Sadistic Sack of Shit” is a venomous abjurgation directed at NFL quarterback and felon—convicted for his involvement in illegal dog-fighting—Michael Vick.
Featured on Side B are four songs of pissed-off hardcore courtesy of Scranton, PA’s Nimbus Terrifix. Laid atop the violent pounding of guitar, drums and bass, is a lyrical amalgam of bleakness and vitriol. A song like “Deadbeat”—in which there is a line about “circling drunks and picking off the most comatose and red-eyed”—make it difficult to determine if these guys are straight-edge or not…not that it matters much to me either way. There are faint bits of tech and grind going on here—similar to, but not quite as fast as S.F.N. or Iron Lung.
The vinyl comes in a deep shade of purple with specs of other colors marbleized in. The album artwork—a Pusshead-inspired drawing of a hand with eyes and a teeth—elicits nostalgia for a bygone era: ‘80s Thrasher Magazine, Metallica before the black album, Vision Street Wear, and hangover-curing breakfast burritos. Unfortunately the artist doesn’t get credited in the liner notes. Regardless, it’s certainly fitting imagery considering the bombastic nature of both bands.
Previous to this record, I was not familiar with either of these bands. While this split is an adequate introduction to two fairly unknown up and coming bands, it doesn’t necessarily inspire me to seek out any other Backslider or Nimbus Terrifix material. Should the opportunity arise, I am more inclined to sample another split or EP before committing to a full-length release by either band.
6.4 / 10
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