Released on CD, download and now obligatory cool retro cassette format through UK based Red Valley Records, this six track split features two tracks of hateful, down tuned sludge from Brighton noise crew Grey Widow and four of brutal, super heavy crust/sludge courtesy of Sons Of Tonatiuh from Atlanta, Georgia to make a brutal, head battering collection of tunes to terrorise the neighbours with.
First up is Grey Widow contributing two epic length tracks that commence with the simply titled X. Here, plodding drums create a sombre atmosphere that is awash with feedback, garbled samples and unsettling ambient noise that recalls the departed masters of the audio nasty, Indian. Low in the mix, underneath this dense sludge, vocals scream sounding like a man tortured and twisted on the edge of sanity.
The guitars are layered with fuzz for a low-fi feel and the sheer weight of the droning, ringing slow riffing that starts the track crushes you with its weight. This is an ordeal before the track explodes into a grind section that thrashes and evokes an epic battle with titans hurling rocks at each other.
Out of this cacophony emerges a groove and a semblance of direction but at its core this is pure nihilistic bile being spat into the ether. The oppressive nature of the music reflects the performance as each member wrings catharsis from their instruments like their lives depended on it. Given that Grey Widow feature ex members of Dopefight, Parole, Thread and The Ergon Council, it should come as no surprise that this would be the soundtrack to the falling sky.
Just when you think you can’t take anymore, out of the sludge comes a mournful, melodic and yet discordant solo that winds its way lazily through the soup channelling some long forgotten blues. Obey resets straight back however to the feedback and samples, before a more up tempo, but no less visceral snarl explodes from the speakers. This harsh noise recalls the likes of Anal Nathrahk and Iron Monkey as the bleak, violent rawness pushes you to the limit.
Ultimately Grey Widow are a challenge that defies you to leave it on the stereo. It is relentless and uncompromising that many people simply won’t have the stomach for, but for those that do, will find both of these tracks intensely rewarding.
Sons Of Tonatiuh on the metaphorical flip side benefit from clearer production on their four shorter tacks and offer a comparatively mellower approach. That is not to say that they are the wet end of the wedge on this release as the shredded raw vocals are bellowed intensely over cascading riffs as shown on Skull File. Here Sabbath like heavy blues is taken and twisted into a schizophrenic lurching slice of brutality, shortly followed by thepure blast of crust on Wounded with its chugging guitars and frenetic drum clatter.
Sun Goes Down starts off with a tribal drum pattern before breaking out into an insanely catchy groove with a hardcore tattoo and barked lyrics that recall Converge at their most vicious. If there was any chance of a single from this release, this would be it, such is the nature of its comparative catchiness and even features an ominous clean vocal part. Rounding off the release The Oracle is closer musically to Grey Widow with the slower grinding pace and ultra intense atmosphere which gives the split a feeling of coming full circle.
If you like your sludge, crust influenced and severely blackened but are unfamiliar with either band, then this release is a perfect sampler for the sledge hammer blow of vehement malevolence being conjured. Both bands channel powerful demons that scrape at the essence of your soul and sound like hell itself has come to earth. A great showcase for both and they will no doubt be making heads bang and ears bleed across Europe from tonight when they kick off their tour together in London.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden