01. Blue Friend - Dasai
02. Blue Friend - Saisho
03. Pathos - I, Mirror
04. Pathos - The Sick Cycle
05. Sjanse - We're Here To Make Things Better
06. Sjanse - Abandon This Now
07. Virginia On Duty - Distance
08. Virginia On Duty - Prediction
This four way split courtesy of Middle-Man Records starts out really strong with these two Blue Friend tracks. 'Dasai' comes in innocently enough with a clean picked guitar track that makes you think that a borderline noodly emo song is what will emerge, but the band careens into a chaotic screamo tune that is tight in the coming-unhinged-barreling-out-of-control way. The strained vocals on both of these songs are complimented by music that twists and turns, mixing the chaos with melodic passages and quieter breath catching sections. Pathos is up next, and they continue in a similar style while putting their own spin on it. The vocal style at the beginning of 'I, Mirror' reminds me a bit of Circle Takes The Square, and when the band comes in full bore it is intense and heartfelt. The highlight of the Pathos tracks for me is the group vocal repetition in the middle of 'Sick Cycle' followed by a cool high melodic guitar line. The Sjanse songs kick in with an off kilter introduction that is as reckless as it is pleasing. There's something refreshing about the spirit that they apply to this genre, even if their songs aren't the most original thing I've ever heard. 'Abandon This Now' shows more diversity by inserting a clean guitar riff complimented well by two vocalists simultaneously screaming and talking. When the song kicks back into chaotic fury, you've had time to settle and it's a welcome reprise. Virginia On Duty closes out this four way split, and they are a great closer. They take the screamo style shown throughout the rest of this offering and add a little more metal flourish. I was immediately reminded of a young Converge, and the metallic leanings are complimented by blasty chaotic parts that just smoke. This is a cool offering from Middle-Man Records, and a good introduction for anyone not previously familiar with these bands.
Reviewed by Justin.
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