Alright, let’s have some fun here. The name of the band in this review is Split Cranium. To clarify:
Split – “To divide lengthwise usually along a grain or a seam or by layers.”
Cranium – “The portion of the skull enclosing the brain.”
So, in a sense, we’re gonna divide a skull along the grain. Divide? Try freaking blast apart.
Split Cranium is spearheaded by Aaron Turner, guitarist and vocalist for the post-metal kings Isis. Now, I’m not a big post-anything kind of guy, but I know enough that you can’t stray too much into any sort of heavy scene without hearing about Isis, or more specially, Aaron’s influence. I picked this copy up in a used record store, and this is what was printed on the front of it:
“With monastic chants, feral roars, stomp n’ burn riffola and death-defying d-beats, Split Cranium is Finnish/Amero punk perpetrated by….” (it went on to list the band members and their respective main projects)
How in the world am I going to turn that down? If I know one thing, it’s this: any sort of post-metal, post-rock, or minimalist artist that decides to take a break from their artistic endeavors and create something a little more commercial, it usually has fantastic results. Just look at Alan Sparhawk from Low and the awesome records that Retribution Gospel Choir have produced. I expected something along those lines here; not something necessarily commercial, but something that is easier to swallow than eight-minute droners. Boy, did I get it.
Right out the gate, Little Brother, Tiny Me, and The Crevice Within come at you like a hardcore punk blitzkrieg. Aaron’s vocals and growls are sharp and on-point, and with nothing in the initial trio over the two minute mark, there’s no room for boredom or filler. It’s in your face, and it’s wonderful. The true high point of the album comes next, however, in the form of Blossoms From Boils – which begins with an unrelenting panic attack, only to midway through shoot us full of an unknown substance which rockets us to the stars with some (dare I say) almost dance-like Queens Of The Stone Age-y riffage.
This isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. I have wonderful friends whose musical opinions I respect greatly, and they want nothing to do with this style of music. Completely acceptable. I have other friends who I know are going to dive into this record head-first. Perfectly cool as well. Personally, I have a soft spot in my heart for any band that is going to try to split my cranium in two, and these guys are well on their way. Check out the eight minute grand finale of Retrace The Circle if you’d like your split to come with a choir of apocalyptic dark riders to usher you into whatever lies on the other side of the veil.
If you had to check out two tracks: Blossoms From Boils / Little Brother