Sometimes, a long review is pretty unnecessary. Such is the case with the split 7″ between Harrowed and Art Of Burning Water. At a mere 7 minutes long, this record doesn’t wait around, and its five tracks don’t lend themselves to deep analysis. Instead, it’s a record for your lizard brain to enjoy, with its furious slices of rage and violence. Short, sharp, and utterly restless, this split doesn’t wait around.
Harrowed take the first side with their D-beat infused modern hardcore (think Converge or Cursed). There’s a malevolent undercurrent to the music in addition to the more face-value violence, giving the two songs a pretty dark atmosphere that’s almost Holy Terror-ish. Credit to the band too for making the songs seem longer than they are, with clever use of shifts in tempo; I especially like the way “Twenty Ten” drops to an almost-crawl in its closing movement. There’s more work gone in to these two songs than their fury might initially suggest; scratch beneath the surface and remarkable depth is revealed.
Art Of Burning Water have got 2016 off to a prolific start – by my count, there’s already three splits released (or coming out soon) that they’ve contributed to this year already. Inspiration for their aggressive kind of noise rock evidently isn’t running low, then, and their three tracks here are hostile, uncomfortable listens. The vocals are the most notable aspect of their sound; a desperate, barely-human series of shrieks that sound almost painful to produce. The riffs are noisy and catchy though, and there’s actual songs keeping all this sound and fury together.
For all the front-loaded rage and aggression, the fact that both bands have taken the time to write songs with more to them than just hostility makes this split the kind of record that, short as it may be, warrants repeat listens. Sure, it’s very appealing as a short blast of frantic catharsis, but there’s more depth to it than that. Unpleasant in the most pleasant of ways.