Tuesday 1 February 2022

Robust Split Series - Season 1: #1 Kasu Weri/Taser

Labels: Robustfellow Productions

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Dec 2021


1. Kasu Weri - Greenblood

2. Kasu Weri - Faster

3. Kasu Weri - Deathetamine

4. Taser - Bitter Bound And Gagged

5. Taser - Pancreatitis Acuta Alcoholica

6. Taser - Sicknote

Late on in December 2021 (Christmas Eve in fact), Ukrainian label Robustfellow Productions released a split series comprising of five tapes, each featuring a band from the Ukraine and a band from elsewhere in the world. It's the first split series to come from the label and focuses on sludge and doom bands, with each limited to seventy five copies, also comprising forty two hand-numbered boxed sets of all five tapes. Earlier this month, I ordered one of the boxed sets and around the same time, a promo e-mail dropped into my inbox, so I figured that alongside my current schedule, I'd take the time to review these splits over the next few weeks.

This first tape features Ukrainian band Kasu Weri and Finnish band Taser, whom you may remember from my review of their split with Frogskin back in 2020. Kasu Weri come from Robustfellow's hometown of Kyiv and despite being active since 2008 (according to Metal Archives), they've released just one EP called From Soil To Ashes prior to this split. Lahti, Finland's Taser formed eight years after Kasu Weri in 2016 (again taken from Metal Archives) and have released as EP, said split with Frogskin, a single and a fill-length called Filthcrawl. All of the songs on here are new, or at least previously unreleased.

I was expectantly awaiting the arrival of this boxed set and I think the only way to truly do it justice is to write about it (though listening to is probably an even better way!). Kyiv’s Kasu Weri is a new name to me and they make an immediate impression on split opener ‘Greenblood’, with it’s groovy mix of stoner and sludge. If you like either sub-genre, you know what you’re gonna get here but you shouldn’t pass it up. The main components here are the riffs and accompanying bass. The percussion drives an authoritative pace while the vocals are as harsh as they come. Imagine having a sore throat and then swallowing a cheese grater. Hopefully you get the picture.

Now despite iTunes trying to shuffle songs randomly, ‘Faster’ comes next, showing Kasu Weri’s sound isn’t just ploughing the usual furrow. It’s a shorter song in sludge terms but that’s no bad thing as it steamrolls through nearly three minutes of infectious heaviness before ending on a dime. The band’s closer ‘Deathetamine’ is every bit as harrowing as it’s title would suggest. It’s hard to think of this music as being catchy but the riffs definitely make it so. The hypnotising effect of the song’s latter half is the icing on the cake for me. Sludge dripping with stoner/psych weirdness helps to make an instant impression. Great stuff!

Taser kicks off their side with the bass-heavy tones of ‘Bitter Bound And Gagged’. Their sound is a lot more menacing with piercing screams and a slower, lower tempo, yet the groove is still very much alive. Brooding and atmospheric are words that could be used to describe this song, and those that revel in the more brutalist side of sludge will find it a safe haven. By now, you should know about my appreciation for Finnish bands and I’m not hiding that here. 

The starkly titled ‘Pancreatitis Acuta Alcoholica’ is a glimpse into the dark psyche of Taser, which is more than matched by the instrumentation and the sobering samples that play on repeat throughout. Sometimes, instrumental songs can be more thought-provoking and that’s certainly true here, even with the lighter, melodic final third, which slides into closing song ‘Sicknote’ without even as much as a pause. It’s Taser at their heaviest with yet more caustic screams and gut-churning riffs. As sub-genres go, sludge will always be special to me. Taser proves once again why that is.

This split is a perfect way to start what is an excellently conceived idea. Both Kasu Weri and Taser have lots to offer musically and Robustfellow has pulled a blinder by bringing them both together here. I can’t wait to write about the other tapes in this series over the coming weeks and I can’t help but feel inspired by it. I’m sure you will be too. 

The songs from the entire series can be streamed below, where you can also purchase it digitally and pick up the tapes (I'd recommend grabbing the complete boxed set while you still can):-

Kasu Weri - https://www.facebook.com/kasuweri

Taser - https://www.facebook.com/tasersludge

Robustfellow Productions - https://www.facebook.com/RobustfellowProds

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