This is the kind of record that, if I saw the cover whilst browsing Bandcamp or a record store or wherever, I’d probably just dismiss it out of hand. If you’re at all familiar with grindcore, you should have a good idea what this split will sound like: as crude, dumb and (depending on your sense of humour) fun/idiotic as that cover is. I’ll admit, I’m a bit uptight when it comes to my grind, and when I listen to the genre (hell, any genre really), it’s almost always from the more serious side. As such, reviewing a release like this is a real exercise in wading in to unfamiliar territories, but also a reminder that sticking just to what feels comfortable can be a bad idea.
Even a quick glance at the song titles will reinforce what the cover already tells you: both bands on this split aren’t taking themselves seriously (and if they’re not both huge Anal Cunt fans, I’ll be beyond surprised). But just because their songs are full of questionable humour, it doesn’t mean the music is a joke. Both bands play with talent, Boxcutter Facelift being more adventurous in their songs with plenty of twists and changes of tempo and emphasis, whilst Demoralizer keep their songs to under a minute and relatively straight-forward, aside from the comparatively epic 1 minute 47 seconds of “Supermassive Brownhole”, which features one of those awesome doom sections that works so well on grind records. I’d probably enjoy Demoralizer’s side more if the production was better; grind shouldn’t have sheen or too much clarity, but even compared to Boxcutter Facelift’s side, things have a tendency to sound muddy. A shame, as their alternate use of shrieked and grunted vocals is pretty effective, especially on “Hanging Out At Home Depot”, which had me laughing at the lyrics. Boxcutter Facelift are really aided by their production though, with everything sounding fairly clear and powerful, which is pretty important given how full of twists and little flourishes their songs are, and the vocals are killer too. As such, I find myself listening to their side more.
Overall, I’m glad that this release was brought to my attention, and that I didn’t just ignore it based on the cover or song titles and instead go looking for yet another political grind band from Europe or something. Their sense of humour isn’t one I really buy in to on the whole, but both bands here are making music that is worthy of note. I’m maybe taking this more seriously than the bands themselves are, but whatever. Either way, it’s worth checking out, even if you think you’re too serious for music like this.
Note: on the 7″ version, Boxcutter Facelift have 4 songs, but 6 on the digital. This review is based on the digital versions of both sides.