Split releases can sometimes be a bit of a mixed bag; at their best, they’re a satisfying and horizon-broadening combo of two separate bands that coalesce into a single unified listening experience, but sometimes an unbalanced pairing can leave one of the acts totally outshined by the other. This recent cassette split on DIY label Thrash Mouth Records promises a ‘Cacophonous Grind Storm’, and, to its credit, half of it delivers this and then some.
Despite their generic name (a quick Google search reveals some German goregrinders, an Italian grind band, a bunch of Swedish crusties and a Spanish tech-death outfit with the same moniker), San Franciso’s grottiest sons Human Waste are a true force to be reckoned with, delivering a rancid barrage of filth that spews out of your speakers like a gutful of vomit hitting the pavement after several days of heavy alcohol abuse. After a sample of what appears to be a particularly irate war veteran embarking on a desperate rampage, ‘Left To Rot’ begins with an anarchic and sloppy introduction, before eventually warming up into a no-nonsense Insect Warfare style clusterfuck. This doesn’t let up at all as ‘Return To Nothing’ crashes into your cranium at warp speed directly after with barely a pause for breath. The proceedings grind to a halt as ‘Swarm’ lumbers into view like a severely intoxicated tramp that’s just cornered you in a dark alley, but this doesn’t last long as within seconds we’re launched straight back into an absolutely devastating succession of blasts and shrieks culminating in a crusty groove that would have Extreme Noise Terror foaming at the mouth, before coming to an abrupt stop. Human Waste take no prisoners here, barging in, ransacking your eardrums and then fleeing off into the night just as quickly as they came, like a bunch of dirty, no-good grind marauders with careless disregard for anyone’s personal safety. In other words, this is the kind of good, old-fashioned pissed off grindcore that’s sure to get your pulse racing and your first pounding. Bravo!
Unfortunately Chetwrecker are left standing in the dust by this display of grinding Armageddon. Their crude, super lo-fi take on powerviolence is not totally devoid of charm, but ultimately feels a little half-arsed. Call me spoilt, but their faster sections never seem to reach the same face melting fury as many of their contemporaries, and their slower segments are almost completely lacking in drive and power. These guys utilise that angry Neanderthal vocal approach that normally fills me with joy but even these sound slightly lazy here. Tracks like ‘False Thesis’ provide a reasonable amount of blastin’ entertainment, and some of the song structures are suitably schizophrenic, but it doesn’t help that the band are bringing virtually nothing new to the table, and there are dozens of similar sounding bands out there that are doing this kind of thing with way more intensity than these guys. Whilst Human Waste wasted no time in grinding you into submission, Chetwrecker’s material seems pretty flabby by comparison; if they’d trimmed away some of the fat, their side of the split may have seemed more appealing. It’s hardly the worst powerviolence release I’ve ever heard, but I can’t really give this a thorough recommendation given the vast number of other like-minded acts out there that are way more worthy of your time (the recent To The Point 7” being a prime example).
All things considered, this isn’t a bad split at all, and is probably worth it just for Human Waste’s side alone. Both bands have made their respective contributions available for free via their Bandcamp pages, and you can also pick up the tape for a measly 3 dollars through Thrash Mouth Records (but not if you live in the UK, frustratingly enough!) I know I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Human Waste, and only time will tell whether Chetwrecker will blossom into a band of the same calibre or not.