Monday 27 November 2017

Fister/CHRCH - Split


1. CHRCH - Temples
2. Fister - The Ditch

Yes!!!! Despite having a last week off work, I already feel the need for more escapism. Thankfully there's a lot of music out there to help me do that. Tonight I've chosen the recent split record between Sacramento (California, US) doom/sludge band CHRCH and fellow trio Fister from St. Louis (Missouri, US), which was released by Crown And Throne Ltd and Battleground Records about two weeks ago. CHRCH began life in 2013 as Church, releasing their first full-length "Unanswered Hymns" in 2015. Fister has been kicking out the slow and heavy jams since 2009 and since then they've released three full-lengths and no less than six previous splits, amongst other things. This particular record clock in at nearly 40 minutes, so you know it's gonna be heavy!

In a year that’s already brought us so much, it just keeps on giving. This split may only feature two songs but they’re more than that. CHRCH’s song Temples begins with the most beautifully restful guitar melodies. Melodies that don’t give away the band’s heavy leanings, even when the tribal-like drumming kicks in. It’s a building piece that makes use of both relaxation and anticipation at the same time. That anticipation finally boils over around the four-minute mark when vocalist Eva Rose growls atop of the full instrumental powerhouse that makes up CHRCH. The rhythm section and low-end delivered by both Adam (drums) and Ben (bass) respectively, drags the band’s doom influences out of the trenches while Shann & Chris (guitars/vocals) provide a nice counterpoint between melody and dissonance. It really is beautiful in both it’s musicality and it’s misery. 

Fister on side two presents an entirely different mood with The Ditch. If you like Primitive Man and the like, then this band will definitely be for you (heck, they even did a split together not so long ago). The trio spews forth a song that ignores thoughtful and enticing build-ups and just goes straight for your jugular. Kenny Snarzyk’s vocals are bone rattling (as is his bass playing), while the additional vocals and guitar-work of Marcus Newstead (any relation to Jason Newstead?) add extra heft, all the while being pinned down by Kirk Gatterer’s uncompromising drum work. This is a harrowing and brow beating 20+ minutes of doom/sludge that goes beyond genre lines. The guitar solo/improv madness following the opening passages is intense and they even show a more sensitive, subtly-bluesy side too during the instrumental mid-section. The extended instrumental section and limited use of vocals making up the rest of the song reminds you that impact ins’t just oral. 

Both CHRCH and Fister provide musically interesting takes on the doom/sludge blueprint with plenty of true emotion and organic sound thanks to the recording/production work of both Pat Hill and Gabe Usery. The artwork that adorns the record is perfect, drawn by Ethan Lee McCarthy and laid-out by N. Constantino Design. This record is as satisfying as it is harrowing.

You can stream the split here:-

You can buy physical copies from the below links:-

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