There are a few labels that no matter what, you know will release countless impressive records. Of these labels, one of the front-runners is A389. Currently housing some of my favorite bands and friends including Full of Hell and Homewrecker, A389 has established a place among the leading American labels in hardcore and punk, rivaled by few. When Wayne contacted me about reviewing this record I was extremely excited because the Children of God 7” Coup De Grace was one of my favorite 7” releases in recent years.
The first time I heard Children of God was on tour. Randomly their 7” was played and I knew immediately that this was a band I wanted to know more about. So I got their 7” and I have to say that it heavily impressed me, I couldn’t believe that it took so long for me to know about them. The rawness and speed of Infest, the heaviness of Cursed all packed with some of the most intense vocal tracks I have ever heard. Fans of the debut 7” I don’t think will be disappointed with Children’s side of the split. Tonally the record’s tracks sound very similar to the 7”. The drums still have that distinctive distortion to their cymbals that make the record sound as if it is trying to tear itself apart. The guitars and bass create an atmosphere of utter chaos, perfectly blending high tones and low tones. And most importantly the vocals have not lost a single bit of the raw energy that was contained within the first 7”. What I like most about the way in which Children of God record is how much the music feels like it is being presented live. Today music often feels stale due to overly produced, overly compressed recording. Children of God deliver 3 tracks that make you feel like you are standing in the room with them blasting their amps at 10.
As I mentioned, this 7” for the most part is not a huge departure from the first 7” in many regards; however, Children of God have really evolved in regards to writing. Where the 7” short, brutal and to the point, the split show Children of God stepping out of the confines of Fast Hardcore and experimenting with more aspects of Doom/Sludge. Whereas the longest track on the 7” is a minute twenty-two, the shortest track on the split is two minutes and twenty-two seconds. The tracks are filled with a lot more slow and sludgy riffs. The fast elements are not lost they just seemed to be placed within a stream of down-tempo breaks. In the future I would love to see the band work more with balancing short and fast songs so we can have the best of both worlds.
After listening to the SSOS side I have to say that I am definitely bummed that I didn’t get a chance to catch their set at this year's Power of the Riff Fest in LA (But that is a different story). From opening riff of Green Garden of Unrest, which opens up their side of the split, to the final fade out in Almighty Black Talons, SSOS pound your head with absolute bleakness and disparity. I think the best thing about SSOS is their usage of distortion, similar to Children of God, it seems like this record is being played through a distortion pedal, everything peaking in just the right ways. The band, while staying slow for the majority of their songs, know just when to pick up the pace. The tempo never gets too fast but the pace changes happen frequently enough to keep the tracks interesting. As this is the first SSOS record I have heard I am definitely interested in hearing how they will progress as a band, and I will say that I am excited at what they have achieved with this release.
This is a split that should not be slept on, between both bands they have a little something of everything to offer. This record is for fans of raw, loud and violent releases that aren’t afraid to slow things down a bit.
Buy It Here
SSOS: Facebook Here
COG: Blog Here