Album: 413/860 – Split EP
Split releases are designed to bring together a variety of sounds and styles from a variety of regions to give the listener a diverse experience in a compact package. Sometimes, the result is lackluster—as a result of bands saving tracks that weren’t worth featuring on a dedicated release or bands of styles too similar to make a split “worthwhile.” Perhaps worst of all are splits that seem pointlessly short—we’ve all been there, getting excited for a split “EP,” only to be treated to basically a single from each band. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, one possibly bad enough to turn you off of splits for good…until the 413/860 split that is. Nearly long enough to flirt with a full-length runtime and packed with diverse material from talented bands across a spectrum of styles, this split EP is one for the record books as a release bound to keep enthusiasts of heavy music occupied for days.
Artist: Your Way Out
At the onset of Your Way Out’s third of 413/860, the listener likely expects to be treated with a bizarrely out-of-place Hotel Books-esque experience. True, “Fear and Death” is home to a mostly-spoken, marvelously written yet downtrodden recital of honest, positive poetry—but once “Tunnel Vision” kicks in, the listener is thrown head-first into a churning sea of melodic hardcore. Punchy, strong drums and dissonant, tediously-harmonized chords define Your Way Out’s sound, adding punch to the mix with brooding chugs and warmth with clear, clean guitars where need be. Atop it all, harsh mid-range yells that ebb and flow into uplifting cleanly sung harmonies that—at first listen—catch the listener off guard, only to grow on them with each listen. Before long, every crooned syllable swells over the listener like a tidal wave of warmth, breaking up the jagged, jarring portion of heaviness that rock the listener as a hurricane might. Your Way Out’s onslaught of passion and power climaxes at “Blind Sheep,” blending powerful lyricism with bold instrumentation to inflict blunt force trauma with ease.
If you were to google search “short but sweet,” the first entry you might find would be a dwarf covered in marshmallow fluff (keyword: MIGHT). The second entry would undoubtedly be dedicated to Values’ portion on 413/860. Clocking in at three minutes and pennies’ worth of change, “Rivals” and “Clockwork” are dizzying examples in fast, furious and floor-pounding hardcore that could stir up a circle pit in a nursing home. Where Values place an emphasis on exaggerated, raw yells and simple-but-speedy instrumentation, they blitzkrieg the listener, still lulled into a false sense of security from Your Way Out’s penchant for instances of brief warmth. “Rivals” incinerates the listener’s dome like a lightning bolt, where “Clockwork” is a more methodical example of structure—even is the structure is fast, loose and scathing in nature. Just as the listener’s pulse catches up with Values’ vicious pace, their songs are over, making the listener wish there was just a little more material to back up their brilliant, flashy forte.
Artist: Pestilent Sermon
For better or worse, out of the three bands on 413/860, the listener is likely MOST familiar with previous efforts from disastrously heavy deathcore act Pestilent Sermon. Bad, possibly, because the band’s past material is lukewarm at best. Great, however, because the Pestilent Sermon seen on this split is a whole new animal, and shows the world a band ready to begin ascension to God-tier ranks of heavy music stardom. In three blistering tracks, Pestilent Sermon redefine hate. Armed with superb songwriting and a masterful mix, the band swing away at the listener’s sensibilities like a sledge hammer covered in broken glass: riffs cut and tear at exposed skin, while brutish breakdowns collapse bone without effort. Adding a dull, dark hint of downtempo to their salvo of scathing death metal-turned-hardcore, Pestilent Sermon dominate 413/860, making “Crutch,” “Hemlock” and “Vacant Funeral” anthems the listener anticipates from the first seconds of the release. Pestilent Sermon are not just stellar by comparison to their previous efforts, but rather, are breathtaking to those who are unfamiliar with their past albums—serving as the ideal ending to a varied, enthralling EP highlighting immensely talented artists from three distinct styles.
Total: 13/15 or 8.7/10
For Fans Of: Hundredth, La Dispute, Kings, Oceano, Bodysnatcher, Rex
By: Connor Welsh