This release is the debut for both of the bands, and also the debut release from the label Slow Pace Records. The duo A-(luokan)naali offers some really harsh and messy noisecore, whereas Occult Overdrive plays some jamming, a bit lo-fi and drug-hazed doom metal.
Let's begin with 25 minutes of A-(luokan)naali. The first track is the shortest one, a four-minuter. It consists of a bass guitar, drums and vocals, but due to the lo-fi recording equipment you can just hear harsh, lo-fi and thin distortion. The drums are not there to be heard aside of the splashes that show as a rhythmic thin distortion over everything, the vocals are mushed up in all the noise, and the bass guitar shows by making the soundscape irregularly pulsating and adding some grit to it. The lo-fi recording equipment shows well through the soundscape lacking in mass and being noticeably covered in some static crackles. Luckily all the songs are recorded with the same soundscape, so one gets used to this. This one's ok, but nothing too special.
Song two is mostly some random distorted quitar notes without anything else to be heard aside of the slight crackling, with noisecore-bursts in the vein of the previous track here and there. The song is more close to being a cheap and lame trick than being actually noisy, but these barer moments give a good and fitting breathing pause from the harshness. Too bad that the song ends to a cut-out, as does it's follow up. Track three is a whole nine minutes long piece, and it's the main song to get this release for. It's the same style as track one, but it has a slightly more fleshy soundscape and the instruments have a bit of room to show out and breathe. They're all in place to create the chaos, and the song doesn't even get at all dull during it's lenght. The seven minutes long live set of two songs is very different from the rest of the material; the soundscape has around zero distortion, it's based on a nicely clear but fleshy bass guitar sound and nicely flowing drumming, along with spoken vocals and some pretty powerless shouting. It doesn't show the band at their best, but it shows that they can actually play their instruments and even have some (primitive) idea behind their expression.
In my opinion this is a good debut from the band. Even though it has many weaknesses, it does manage to show many different but enough similar sides from the band, that they aren't ashamed of their expression, and shows that the band can be capable of great things in the future after they've refined their output. I wouldn't wonder if the band made some more daring experiments in the future. Looking at their promo image, though, I'm a bit worried if they manage to keep unnecessary and lame humour out of their music... Still, very promising, and especially so from a duo. Including the minus points from the cut-out endings, they get a 6½ / 10
On side B we have 25 minutes of something more groovy. A nicely dirty and gritty guitar sound takes over and starts executing some rather repetitive, groovy, low-tuned and jamming-like riffs. They have a nice touch of haziness in them, too, partly due to the mushy soundscape. The bass frequencies are sadly too back in the mix or messed up with the guitars to really add something to the songs composition-wise, but the bass shows pleasantly in the overall mushiness. The drums are lively and nicely genre-loyal, and bring some variation to the bassy soundscape with their slightly lo-fi beats and very lo-fi and organic splashes. The drum plates also add a nice dose of noisiness to the soundscape, making it more fitting to their split companion. My guess is that this side was recorded live, too.
The band pretty much knows what they're doing and have their expression put together: they have very decent riffs and they play pretty well together. Now they only have to add some more of their original touch to the songs and to find more interesting ways to express themselves, as now all the songs follow pretty much the same formula. Sure, the songs are groovy and get you banging your head, but after listening to them for some time the repetition in and between the songs eats up their value greatly. The band could well take their jamming and hazy elements further, and I hope they do. The vocalist should work on his expression, too, to give it more power and slight variation, as now his distorted low shouts don't reach the level these songs would need to really shine. And come on, I've heard enough of songs end to a cut-out, as two of the songs do. Not good.
This is a promising debut as well, but a more personal and daring touch would be needed. I wonder if the band is going to continue in the lo-fi direction, or is this just the situation on this tape? Just a slightly more clear soundscape could do wonders to the lower sounds and their hooks. 7- / 10
I'm glad I got to hear this split, even though it's one I'm pretty sure I won't listen to it too often. Both of the bands are very promising, but they have a good amount of room for refinement in their output. The split also has a very, well, split nature because the bands are so very different; the only thing that even weakly ties them together is the lo-fi soundscape. We'll see what these fellows come up with later.