Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split" CD Review!! (Part 2)

As promised, it's time to conclude our special two-part review of "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split", so be sure to check out our thoughts on The Ripcordz and Jack Spades' portions of the split in the first half linked above! The second half will feature closing thoughts on the ambitious split CD, but first, let's take a look at the final third of the split, courtesy of local hardcore punk quintet Destroilet! Self-recorded (presumably at The Litter Box) in 2012 and 2015, this is the third official release from Destroilet following their 2011 EP & 2012 full length CD, and like on those albums, it features their classic and current lineup, including singer Mike Hull, guitarists/producers John Conway & Christian Foisy, bassist Adam Larocque, and drummer/album artwork designer Matt Waples. As well, backing vocalists are used on two tracks, including Jack Spades drummer Johnny Belanger on "Bamberg Witch Prison" & "Murderers", Mike Denisch on the former, and John's Billy Bastards bandmate Greg Beharriel & Joni Radford on the latter.

With 5 songs and 1 cover running for about 16 minutes, let's round out our review of "Fed Up!" with the first song, "iBomb"! Beginning with a slower introduction with low spoken word vocals by Mike, the fury soon kicks in for fans of Destroilet's hardcore punk intensity, with a drum-driven attack, nice bass laid in from Adam, and a solid (if brief) guitar solo from John, but Mike's vocals are a little too monotonous compared to the song's energy. It's on pace with Destroilet's prior originals though, if not a bit more technical and diverse in it's competition, so fans will get the best of both worlds here! Second is "Lifer", a shorter song that begins with call and response vocals from Mike and backing vocals before fully launching into the song proper, which doesn't reinvent the wheel from Destroilet's working formula, but it makes good use of Mike's vocals, has a longer guitar solo section (albeit laid under verses), and a hard hitting, consistent pace! I do slightly prefer it to "iBomb" for it's intensity, but Destroilet are on form so far!

The third & final new original song is "Bamberg Witch Prison", inspired by real life German witch trials in the 17th century. Opening with a very heavy and crushing guitar riff before launching into the fastest and most brutal passages yet, Mike's vocals have never been more ferocious than on the verses, though the low spoken-word portion of the choruses is too much of a mood shift. The backing vocals from Johnny Belanger & Mike Denisch are effective as background effects as well. It definitely seemed to end too quickly, and I missed having a guitar solo, but everyone delivered well on this song, another promising entry in Destroilet's recent repertoire! The next two songs are both re-releases of older recordings, not unlike the two old originals from The Ripcordz' third of the split. Those tracks are "R.O.Y.C." and "Eternal Fire", both holdovers from Destroilet's self-titled 2012 CD, not unlike how they re-issued their 2011 EP in full as half of their second disc.

I won't re-review them in full (you can see our original thoughts from our January 2013 review of that album at this link), but I found that "R.O.Y.C." was a solid heavier song that didn't benefit from the lower and harsher vocals, and "Eternal Fire" worked as more of a punk-influenced song with great bass, but also had inconsistency in the used vocal styles. Both were and still are entertaining tracks for Destroilet fans! The "Fed Up!" split closes with a cover of Vancouver punk band The Rebel Spell's 2011 song "Murderers", with the album proper dedicated in the memory of late Rebel Spell frontman Todd "Serious" Jenkins. Similar in structure to the original but given more of a hardcore edge, the song makes good use of Johnny, Greg, and Joni's backing vocals on the choruses, while everyone shows their punk side of things nicely, including quality guitar work from John and Chris! You can sense the emotion on this cover too (Destroilet opened for The Rebel Spell locally and were big fans of theirs), and it's a fitting close to this split album!

Overall, Destroilet's third of the split is a very good continuation of their past releases, slowly growing their sound with more technical and diverse influences while still retaining the old-school hardcore fury that has driven them since the late 2000s, with "Lifer" and "Bamberg Witch Prison" clear highlights! While Mike's vocals could be a little more diverse, and the mix of some songs could be a little smoother, Destroilet have a good formula and shouldn't break from it, and fans of The Rebel Spell should definitely eat up their "Murderers" cover as well!

So, what are my final thoughts on "Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split"? I find that it's an interesting experiment (split CDs of this magnitude are not an every day occurrence from local bands, let alone with a band of The Ripcordz' heft involved), but a successful one that has three bands from the same musical spectrum delivering eighteen quality songs! If you like even two of the involved bands, this is worth picking up, but as everyone's musical taste is different, many will likely prefer one artist to the rest. Myself, my musical tastes would lean more to Jack Spades, but all three bands delivered for their respective genres, and I didn't have a major issue with any of the songs! I'd have liked to have seen song lyrics in a full album booklet, and having over a quarter of the split comprised of previously released material is a little odd, but you can't complain too much. Fans of only one included artist on the split may want to wait for a digital release though, in case they only want that band's songs for less money.

Considering that fans essentially got a new Ripcordz EP, Jack Spades' sophomore CD, and Destroilet's third release all in one for $10, that's quite a good deal, and it'd be interesting to see more split albums of this quality, involving the same bands or not, in the future! Contact band members to get your copies A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for details on online and possible in-store availability! I hope you guys liked our (extended) latest CD review, and in all likelihood, we'll be looking at local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back's first full length album "ALbums", which came out in September, so look for that next month, and stay tuned for more news and previews in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

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