Wednesday 7 October 2015

Altar Of Complaints/SeeK/Stubborn Father/Thetan - 4-Way Split


1. SeeK - 革命と緩和 (Revolution And Relaxation)
2. Altar Of Complaints - Leif
3. Altar Of Complaints - Alone In The Middle Of All This
4. Altar Of Complaints - Tuffcuppleoctopuss
5. Stubborn Farther - 未定 (Undecided)
6. Stubborn Father - 創造の山 (Mountain Of Creation)
7. Thetan - Those Once Here
8. Thetan - Que Sera
9. Thetan - Shooting Gallery
10. Thetan - ---
11. Thetan - Canned Rebellion
12. Thetan - The Path
13. Thetan - Call Of The Master

I can't put it off any longer. I heard this record the other day and I've been waiting for a more appropriate time to write about it, but as they say "there's no time like the present". This 4-way split is  only the second release to come from Kakusan Records, a label based in Norway specialising in releasing music by Japanese artists! Kakusan Records was formed out the ashes of Listen To Aylin Records and the label has already helped released a previous 4-way split that featured Things Fall Apart, Tall Ships Set Sail, Infro and Shizune. This new split was released in collaboration with US label MeatCube and LongLegsLongArms from Japan, with two US bands (Altar of Complaints and Thetan) and two Japanese bands (SeeK and Stubborn Father).

This split is a bit different in that the participating bands don’t contribute an even number of tracks, but what it does do is show off the breadth of creativity and variation that they bring. Take for example the sole song (and opener) by SeeK (JPN) - 革命と緩和 (Revolution And Relaxation). It’s a sizeable slab of visceral Japanese screamo that is injected with real musical atmosphere. It has an authoritative majesty to it that I guess can only come from a nation as driven as Japan. That was certainly an effective way to kick things off. Next up is Altar Of Complaints (US). They pepper their noisy screamo with dramatic leads and jarring time-signatures, while the drumming is purely chaotic on Leif. Until I sat down to right this review, I had no idea that these guys had called it a day and that these were their last recordings. I guess that makes this a pretty poignant release for long-standing fans of the band. I think it sucks when I don’t discover band until they’re over but then time in finite. Alone In The Middle Of All This will last long in the memory for sure. I don’t even know how to begin to pronounce Tuffcuppleoctopuss, but I don’t mind because the song itself blows any such cares away. Stubborn Father (JPN) seem to be a band with extreme ADHD. After a mid-paced intro they break into a squealing, grinding racket called 未定 (Undecided). It has to be heard to be believed, as it switches from high-octane to moody and mid-paced at the flick of a switch. It’s not quite math but not far off and it fits together perfectly. 創造の山 (Mountain Of Creation) is a shorter and even more head-smashing song, which seems to take more from powerviolence. I really should make a point of picking up other music by Stubborn Father! US drum/bass duo Thetan close out this split with 7 rapid fire numbers filled with raging low-fi hardcore. Those Once Here bristles with palpable anger during the verses and mournful atmosphere during the instrumental mid-section. That’s kind of the story of this grinding monster. There’s real inventiveness during Que Sera. The bass playing makes up for the lack of guitar with ease. Thetan reminds me a bit of fellow US duo Lifes on Shooting Gallery, which leads into the effects-filled drum interlude . You think Canned Rebellion is another instrumental track before it bursts into life with ten-seconds to go. The pace doesn’t let up with The Path and Call Of The Master following instantaneously, It’s an exhilarating way to end a split that’s shown what four bands with shared outlooks and different approaches can achieve with limited space. This is a cracking record for anyone who appreciates heaviness together with a bit of madness thrown in. Also, a great way to discover four new bands if you’ve not already heard of them!

You can stream the whole split here:-

Pre-orders can be purchased from the below links:-

Kakusan Records (Europe) -
MeatCubeLabel (USA) -
LongLegsLongArms (Japan) -

SeeK Facebook -
Altar Of Complaints Facebook -
Stubborn Father Facebook -
Thetan Facebook -
Kakusan Records Facebook -
MeatCubeLabel Facebook -
LongLegsLongArms Facebook -

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