Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Ken South Rock / Giant Battle Monster on Artificial Head Records
Paul from the band, Art Institute is also the guy behind Artificial Head Records and who wouldn't want the guy pressing their records to understand the day to day battle from the band side of things. I also really appreciate his personal take on these guys in his one sheet, he's excited about both bands on this single and it even seems like these guys may not have known each other beforehand it's all thanks to Paul deciding to put them on this split together.
Ken South Rock is a crazy duo from Brooklyn and Tokyo that captures a massive energy that could have only been honed after years on the road, blasting away in random venue's acoustics. You better get loud. "Hold On" opens with a shitty cheap acoustic or detuned up electric and Adam's vocal (I'm guessing) is just barely coming through. Somehow it's insanely gated to oblivion with the ends of each individual word chopped right off fighting these rapid stompy chords. It's not long before this explodes and you hear why they were trying to contain themselves, this is a scary volume. The vocals from Ken (?) switch into a real metal wavering belting scream before this heavy sound drops back into the acoustic rattling strings and muted feedbacky scrapes. The mother of avalanche chords barrel down the mountain and scientists are only now barely studying their extreme dynamics. How far can they push this truly unique back and forth of No Age meets Death From Above 1979 huge fuzz and some kind of southern classic rock. "Volcano" is a plinky kind of psych with huge kicks on drums. Fingerpicked melodies with an opening that stops and deliberately waits as long as possible before coming back with that seismic crash. A power metal rocket call and response of 'Volcano'. They really picked the perfect thing to sing about. You can hear how much they probably rule a venue, converting everyone immediately.
B-Side's Giant Battle Monster - are an equally insane duo from Houston who want you to 'go nuts at our shows and please wear a costume.' There's no subtlety to "Hippopatamus" and their Lightning Bolt delivery and tight snare smacks. But that reference might be the most recognizable thing you're going to get from these guys who are paving their own road. A crazy road with buttresses, giant sections missing, and turning ninety degrees straight up to launch over an entire city block and then shoot into an underground tunnel. This highway would never be planned by anyone who knew better, let alone driven. Watery chorus sounds wrestled into a screamy hardcore. Instruments are played with brut force, there's no light touch here. Metal, hardcore and math have been inbred together, on a Dr. Moreau island where science, not love, has forced made them mate. THIS is that DFA 1979 sound like an explosion bass riddled with distortions. The vocal is even pushing rhythmic boundaries. It's the two of them yelling back and forth in the tightest perfect configuration. There's a real discipline in getting this extreme, almost a fascist devotion to this sound. How can it be anything but heavily practiced and drilled into these two except maybe they get off on making this as difficult as humanly possible. A nightmare of changing tempos and metal, a prog carnival. Reminding me of Zs or Aa but their name suits them. Almost forgot, "Prison Legs". Not sure where the last one ends but I heard a lighter picked electric that peeked in behind chopped up sections of tape with a huge crunch, randomly punched in from track two as this weird underwater dream psych fades out.
Cool matchbook style cardboard sleeve, pressed on glow in the dark or coke bottle green vinyl - get it from Artificial Head Records.