Just another usual split release from Agathocles? Not quite!
If you're at all into grindcore or even know what mincecore stands for, chances are you know Agathocles already. The band has kept going steadily since 1985, and have made a ton of releases since. They've even created a trademark style: short songs of political, minimalistic and somewhat lo-fi oldschool grindcore. This specific release, however, brings out a different side of the band: much to my surprise, they present just one track, and it lasts for close to 17 minutes.
Riff-wise "From Conversation..." doesn't bring much new to Agathocles' style: simple punk/grind riffs, simple but capable drumming and gruff muffled vocals are the key elements to their success. What is different that the song stays constantly in mid-tempo. The song switches between a few different parts with the help of a few simple build-ups. The main riffs are one with rhythmic churning riffs, one slightly sludge-like one, and the chorus has even a hint of groove in it.
The song is steady and repetitive to some extent, especially due to the monotonal and even emotionless vocal work. Still, it works like a charm; the song doesn't get boring at any moment, and it goes forward in the most natural way. The harsh soundscape helps the band retain its own and (more or less) unique sound, and I haven't gotten bored of the song despite numerous listens. It's not a groundbreaking tune, but does all that it promises with skill. One of the best songs I've heard from Agathocles, ever.
The Italian Kazamate was formed in 2001, but went through a line-up change in 2007 that pretty much turned them into a whole new band - this according to themselves, I can't comment as this CD is my first experience with the band. They've released a 4-way split CD with Primordial Sound, Chaos Anarchy and Bituman, and that's pretty much all the info I was able to find about them.
Kazamate's music is a bit difficult to describe. They have a lot of aggression in their mixture of hardcore punk and grind, and some drum-bits and riffs are even power violence-y in their sudden turns and discord-notes. Their first and last songs are pure grind-blasts, but the ones in between them are the key concent and sound more original. The slightly damp soundscape makes the songs further difficult to digest, aside of the sharper "lead" guitar, and the shouted male vocals (switching between one and more men shouting) bring even more originality and attitude to the table.
I've listened through the disc many a time, but still have difficulty understanding what Kazamate is going for. It might be that the songs would need sharper and deeper sounds to really reveal their true nature and ferocity, as now the songs sound really pleasing but just don't stick to one's mind. Even so, I'd for sure like to hear more from the band, as their relentless musicianship and fearless way of composing intriques me.
The two-page booklet has a nice, simple design and holds all the lyrics and basic infos, and the cover image pleases the eye. No complaints. As a fun detail, one of the pages is dedicated to the logos of all the labels that took part in releasing this split.
Agathocles' lyrics are about corrupt and manipulative politics, and could be described as a pretty decent fight-back anthem. "Let our fists do the talking to end their noise." Kazamate's lyrics are half Italian, half bad English, and I have to admit I didn't get a lot out of the few parts that I understood. They are hate-filled and really bare, and (if slightly generalized) they deal with the same issues as Agathocles' part. The bands don't form a half bad duo.
This split is not for everyone, as it takes a while to get to understand what the bands are going for since neither of them relies on the most basic forms of bashing in faces. It's still a highly recommendable one to people searching for new depths from their grind and hardcore punk.