Wednesday 8 June 2022

Robust Split Series 1: #4 - Keepleer 18/Yanomamo

Labels: Robustfellow Productions

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 24 Dec 2021


1. Keepleer 18 - Giffrotaa

2. Keepleer 18 - Viitiir

3. Keepleer 18 - Dol-Hilia

4. Keepleer 18 - Aatiica

5. Yanomamo - No Sympathy For A Rat

6. Yanomamo - The Offering

7. Yanomamo - Miasma

8. Yanomamo - Iron Crown

I did not realise that it's been over a month since I last wrote about the Robust Split Series from Robustfellow Productions. This, the fourth split tape, features Keepleer 18 (Ukraine) and Yanomamo (Australia). Keepleer 18 began life in 2012 and have released a demo, a single and two full-lengths of sludge prior to appearing as part of this split series. Similarly, Yanomamo have been playing their own brand of sludge since 2012 and so far have four EPs, two singles, a couple splits and a full-length to their name before this one (all previous release info taken from Metal Archives). So both bands have a decent amount of material to their name so far, with four tracks from each appearing here.

For those who are not aware of this series; it focuses on the five split tapes that Ukrainian label Robustfellow Productions released towards the end of 2021, where they brought together five Ukrainian bands and five international bands in the name of all things slow. Given all that's going on in Ukraine at the moment, it's important to share music from the region and also the stories of those who are living though it (more on that later).

Opening the split with ‘Giffrotaa’, Keepleer 18 (possibly named after the star Kepler 18) launch into life with some extremely groovy yet vocally harsh sludge. Said vocals are barked with a level of ferocity and tone that some may find uncomfortable, but they fit the music perfectly. The band behind are equally as strong. The whole production stands out for me this early on in the split. This is the sort of music you need at the midweek point. ‘Viitiir’ is an upbeat and chunky riff-filled beast initially. If you’ve got this far then you’ve probably also got used to those vocals. I’m not being disrespectful here though, I’m just giving fair warning to those who don’t like things too extreme. I personally love them.

Surprisingly ‘Dol-Hilia’ is a sub-sixty second piece of what could ultimately be described as art-grind. I know that sounds pretentious but the raging passages that make way for off-kilter guitar and upbeat(!?) singing, shine a whole different light on Keepleer 18. Their closing song ‘Aatiica’ is filled with the sounds of experimental electronics, more inline with their cosmic influences (maybe?). It’s a far cry from what started their side of this split but it’s more than suited to being the longest song of the four that they contribute here. As ambient, electronic songs go it’s a fun listen, especially when presented alongside such harsh music.

Australia’s Yanomamo start their side with the song ‘No Sympathy For A Rat’, which you may be familiar with if you own their 10” of the same name from 2020. Their sound is a lot more down-tuned, though there are grooves aplenty as well. It’s hard to get around the fact that this type of dirty sludge could reside in Australia, but it does. ‘The Offering’ provide a greater glimpse into the musical mind of Yanomamo. Like Keepleer 18, they’re less straightforward than you might expect sound-wise. Yes they’re heavy and downbeat, but they’re not afraid to dabble in different sounds at the same time.  

Those different sounds and elements are more obvious on ‘Miasma’, which is instantly more urgent thanks to it’s tempo. Maybe more akin to the approach of Sacrament-era Lamb Of God here, they show that sludge can still be fast and that’s no bad thing at all. Closer ‘Iron Crown’ is the best of both worlds in terms of it’s approach. Maybe it accentuates what they’re going for musically, but whatever, it’s definitely a solid way to end a split of this sonic magnitude. 

Both Keepleer 18 and Yanomamo are brilliant ambassadors for the sheer breadth and personality that exists in the global sludge community. If you haven’t taken some time out to listen to both bands, or indeed the bands that make up this split series in it’s entirety, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I have one more split to review and I can’t wait!

For Fans Of: Deadsmoke, Watchtower, Loinen, Outlaw Order, Pod People and Lamb Of God

You can stream this split and the songs from all the rest via Robustfellow's bandcamp page below, where you can also purchase the series digitally and on tape while stocks last:-

Keepleer 18 -

Yanomamo -

As I alluded to in the second paragraph of this review, Robustfellow Productions are using their platform to allow Ukranian artists the space to talk about their experiences of living through a war via a new video interview series. The pilot episode is available here -

Robustfellow Productions -

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