One of the greatest things about a split release is that it allows you to go deeper with bands you’ve already grown accustomed to while offering a glimpse of an undiscovered outfit. Splits also allow both parties to take some creative detours from the type of material that would be on a full-length and to pair up with artists that may not traditionally be seen as compatible. In the case of the upcoming split between California-based Teeth and the well-established doom/sludge barons Fister, there’s a clear parallel in the bands’ use of dissonance while offering a contrast in their use of tension and songwriting.
Fister’s single-song side, comprised of the grimly-titled “We All Die Tonight,” is a continuation of last year’s massive IV: Lumbering, shrieking, paint-peeling doom/sludge of the filthiest order at first, gradually picking up in tempo and frenzy as bulldozing, chromatic riffs roll over drums that hit with full body force as Kenny Snarzyk’s snarling wails sit atop the mix. A little over halfway through, though, the song takes a surprising turn into melodic, nearly funeral doom territory as a gloomy, soaring lead whines over a molten rhythm and a steady arpeggiated bass line. It’s a welcome change from their usually bleak and abrasive aesthetic without sacrificing the grimy ethos they’ve become known for.
Teeth has been labelled as death/doom by some, but that genre tag isn’t as inclusive as you might think. These two tracks swim with a clear grindcore influence, especially on “Lament of the Spineless,” which starts out with pummeling blasts before downshifting into swirling dissonance with forceful, pained howls dominating the mix. It’s a confrontational, back-against-the-wall type of sound and is quite the foil to Fister’s side, ending in a pummeling, vicious breakdown. It leads directly into “To Lay Upon Blistered Thorns,” which brings out more of the outfit’s doom influence as sonorous, echoing guitars swathe behind the stark, monolithic rhythms and carefully calculated rhythm shifts from the drummer.
The difference in dynamics is what makes this split a repeatable listen, but from top to bottom, it’s a brutal listen that leaves little breathing room, even in its very short runtime. Get down in the dumps and check this out if you want festering, assaulting doom/sludge. The Bag Man artwork alone is worth the price of admission, alongside the fact that Broken Limbs are already on a roll and are putting out this beast of a split as well.