The last time these two bands did a split together – 2018’s Discipline – they contributed three songs each and the whole thing came in under two minutes long; this however is a whole different kettle of fish, with each band giving us an eleven minutes-plus opus. But fear not, they haven’t gone all prog on our asses, although the term ‘high concept punk rock’ could well be applicable. The press release references From The Cradle To The Grave by Subhumans as an inspiration for this, and that was certainly a game-changer back in 1983, when the title track of the anarcho legends’ second LP took up a whole side of the record, although similar approaches have since been pursued by the likes of DOA and Jello Biafra (Full Metal Jackoff) and NOFX (The Decline). What this release has in common with these genre classics is that it’s not only from bands more renowned for shorter songs but it has something to say. Something that you can’t convey with the appropriate gravity in a 30-second thrash attack.
That’s not to say this doesn’t thrash like its life depends on it, because it does, and both bands deliver the sort of manic intensity we’ve come to know and love from them, but it does other things as well – things that make you tap your feet, scratch your head and even do a double-take on occasion. Great music throughout though, and – more importantly – great lyrics that will hopefully have listeners sat with the sleeve insert in hand reading along. And anything that makes you sit up and really listen – sit up and think – in this day and age of vapid consumerism and shameless misinformation is a welcome shot in the arm. It’s always good to see bands challenging themselves and their audiences like this. Ian Glasper
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