Six years on from debut LP and d-beat/anarcho-punk supergroup Split Cranium serve up the sophomore. Given that the band features members of Converge, Circle, Mammifer and many more, I’m The Devil And I’m Ok was never going to go in with a soft touch. What’s notable here is how the band balances out the ferocious screams and pounding drums with some pretty melodic riffs. Out via Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings (Zu, Daelek, loads more).
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To quote Milhouse Van Houten, “fun is fun”. Better still is having fun through the medium of music, which is extremely rare, because music is de facto bad. I’m pleased to say one of the rare opportunities for musical fun exists in this most unlikely of places: an album-long collaboration between members of Converge, Circle and Mammifer. Each dour in their own special way, these bands come together to create a thrashy, chuggy, often kinda catchy supergroup hit.
I love when you can hear a bit of everyone’s respective main game in a side project, and that’s the business of ‘I’m The Devil and I’m OK’, even if it’s not always from the sources you’d expect. Nate Newton delivers some truly Doomriders riff raff while extricating the metalcore tendencies of his parent band; but he’s also a great melodic resource in this band, helping navigate its tumultuous waters. Aaron Turner, who see-saws between the delicate melodic ambience of Mammifer and the distaste of Old Man Gloom, howls into the void on this record, using the same kind of melodic backdrop to self-incense. And we should talk, briefly, about how weirdly ethereal this record can get: the experimental tendencies of Circle shine through via Tomi Leppänen, with whining guitar oscillations met by cavalcades of what sound like horns and synth.
Good stuff; it turns out they were all mixologists. A track like “Ingurgitated Liquids” is proof of the double life they’re leading in this band, as its thrashy decorum fades away and you can hear nothing but a sweet choral drone. The noise schematics of “Whirling Dusk” sound like they’re trying to place their hardcore riffs onto a plate of Merzbow. When you’re this good at your A genre you can pretty much roll through the alphabet of other ones; these guys have made a great, weird metal album that only benefits from its foibles.
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- I’m The Devil and I’m OK by Split Cranium
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