I’ve long championed Philadelphia’s Starkweather as horribly underrated force in American metal. But with only 4 album since 1992, the less than prolific noisemongers keep themselves on the outer fringes of metal popularity, and that’s probably a good thing as more album like 2006’s landmark Croatoan or 2010s This Sheltering Night, might be too much for the metal populace to handle.

Well , after a couple of 2011 splits (which I have not heard) , the band has delivered another split with Portugal’s Concealment, and the band’s long awaited, almost 30 minute contribution, “Divided By Zero” is exactly what we have come to expect; a crumbling unhinged, haunting foray into off kilter hardcore/postrock that’s hard to quantify and hard to listen to. The track takes a while to get going even with a heavier than thou, throttling start to the track. Rennie Resmini’s creepy croons will be jarring to metal heads new to Starkweather, but around 9 minutes in, all hell unleashes in the form of growled vocals, pained screams, and a crawling Ulcerate/Gorguts inspired upheaval. It cements Starkweather as a wholly unpredictable, volatile force that has no concerns with genre boundaries or genres, just sheer unbridled noise. The track then shifts into more introspective and creepy realms, highlighting the band’s clever ability to twist and morph from undulating atmospheric ebbs to crushing, monolithic riffs with serpentine, saurian malevolence. The track’s crumbling Neurosis on bath salts climax cements this talent with caustic, effortless menace and disturbing ease.

I’m unfamiliar with Concealment, but apparently they are equally as un-prolific as Starkweather, and have been around just as long. Their almost 20 minute  track “Liminality”, while not quite as atonally abrupt and shiftyly chaotic  as Starkweather’s track, has a consistent discordant, jarring clarity throughout. They share a lot other band’s influences and sounds  and they do come close about 14 minutes in with a nice tumbling atonal groove and shift. I’m not trying to short the band with a shorter paragraph, but when you are sharing a record with Starkweather, you know which band is going to get the lions share of the attention. Still- a good fit for this particular split.

I’m not a big fan of splits, but this one is your time and money if you need 50 minutes of music to pick and eat scabs too- this is it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 19th, 2018


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