Saturday, 11 August 2012

Osk - Wretched Existence // Bleak Future : 2007-2010


This is my third To Live A Lie release review. This time featuring Canadian grind band Osk and their latest CD, that pulls together a collection of songs from previous splits with the likes of Scumbelly, Roskopp, Warhero and The Afternoon Gentleman. It also contains some tracks that were on other compilations, as well as some previously unreleased tracks. There's 22 quick fire grind tracks in all. Check below for the list and what releases they come from.

Tracklist:-
Tracks 1-5 (From the split with Scumbelly)
1. E.V.P.V.        
2. Empty White Box        
3. Space Snakes        
4. Giving Up        
5. Endless Repent
Tracks 6-9 (From the split with Roskopp)       
6. Knowingly Ignorant        
7. Arm Yourself        
8. Beyond Control        
9. Heavy Metal T Shirts
Tracks 10 - 13 (From the split with Warhero)       
10. It All Means Nothing Now        
11. Assume        
12. No Dice        
13. Blank Page
Tracks 14 - 16 (From the split with The Afternoon Gentleman)       
14. Stranded At Sea        
15. Mouth Pollution        
16. Walking Asleep
Tracks 17 - 20 (Previously unreleased tracks)      
17. Lie Through Your Teeth        
18. Big Drinker        
19. Ridged Thought        
20. Creeper
Tracks 21 - 22 (From the Intellect and CYCL 2 Comps)      
21. Earwig Master        
22. Gobs From Reno

I'm going to attack these in stages, starting with tracks 1-5. The split with Scumbelly was releases in 2008 and the first five tracks were Osk's contribution to it from the B-side.

All tracks here are full on, quick blasts of grind that are over before they've begun.
E.V.P.V is a sub 20-second kick in the face. Empty White Box features absolutely insane drumming and pretty awesome riffs buried amongst the production, which is good. Space Snakes is 15 seconds of madness, which features some meaty riffs and those vocals are face shredding. Good luck trying to make out the lyrics, as they fly by too quickly. Giving Up is a good example of this. Endless Repent is the last song of this group and is also the longest at over a minute. Halfway through, the speed gets brought to a near halt, as an awesome sludgy section is played out, showing that Osk can switch the mood and it's a great slab of angry hardcore.

Tracks 6-9 are from their split with Roskopp, which was released in 2009. Again Osk take of the B-side of this 7".

First song Knowingly Ignorant is just pure chaos from start to finish, but it seems to last longer than it's 45 second running time, thanks to a slower mid-passage. Arm yourself shows a return of Osk's sludgier side, with a more mid-paced attack. It's got some good thrash sensibilities to it in some of the riffs, but the vocals are still grind to the core. There's even some subtle melody in the riffs. Beyond Control is another full throttle battering. All I can say is that their drummer must be an Octopus! Heavy Metal T-shirts rounds things off for this section, with more PV goodness.

Tracks 10-13 come from their split with Warhero. I'm not sure when this one was released, so if you could tell me that'd be cool.

It All Means Nothing Now is heralded in by some ringing feedback, before Osk wade forth with some off-kilter sludge. This song has a totally different feel to it than previous tracks. The atmosphere seems to be really menacing and a lot more evil, than their trademark sound would suggest. Assume brings things crashing back down to earth with a jolt. No Dice features more mid-paced, off-kilter sludge but with crazed grind in the middle to push things along. Blank Page has a real punk feel to it, with bouncing drumming in parts and guitar riffs to match.

Tracks 14-16 are from their 2011 split 7" with The Afternoon Gentleman. This record was put as a collaborative release by no less than 6 labels originally!

All songs here are longer than a minute and show Osk experimenting with their formula. Stranded At Sea features fast drumming and more crazed PV vocals, but the guitars here seem meatier and more metal inspired. Mouth Pollution shows this off, with a mid-paced chunky intro, which leads back into their trademark grind. Walking Asleep just follows up in the same vein, still utterly mental though! It even features some riffs, which sound like they could have been written by Mastodon and sound absolutely huge!

The final 6 tracks here are made up of compilation only songs and four unreleased tracks before them. Osk finish off this CD in suitable style. Lie Through You Teeth probably has what is approaching the most traditional song structure, but it sounds really refreshing and heavier thanks to the slower pace and some really cool guitar textures. The low-end and percussion keep things in check throughout. Big Drinker and Ridged Thought are truly momentous slabs of grind. Creeper does exactly what the title suggests; it creeps along at a festering pace, with some great clean guitar riffs and powerful drumming. This is one of my standout tracks, even though it is purely instrumental. It just sounds really heavy and breaks up the record really well, giving you time to prepare for the final two blasts that are just around the corner. Earwig Master is a great title for a song. The sound and production of the song is more rough and ready and just sounds nuts. Final song Gobs From Reno is similar too. It sounds more like these songs were recorded in a live setting.


If you've not heard Osk before, this is probably the record to get. It's 22 tracks fly by, with great musicianship and plenty of ideas along the way. You can still pick up copies of the records that these tracks were taken from, on places like Discogs, but having them all here in one place seems to make sense.

Just head over to TLAL at http://www.tolivealie.com/ for more info on Osk and this releases, plus details on where to purchase it from.

I can't find a Facebook page for Osk, but they do have a page on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/oskvan.

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