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Excruciation : Heavydeath/Excruciation (Split)

If you're a vinyl fan, this 7" picture disc makes for a reasonable and balanced, if brief, sampler.

Well, OK, another day, another split single, another borderline call. But maybe it'll be one worthy of interest. You'd kind of expect Excruciation to crank out something fairly short and to the point: that's pretty much what they've done throughout their post-2000 incarnation. But my previous exposure to Heavydeath has been limited to 25-odd minute demo tracks, leaving a significant question as to how the Swedish band might get their message across in something like 20% of that space.

Looking at their release list on Bandcamp, it does seem like they've already shifted some way into that approach, with a whole fistful of shorter-track-based releases over the last couple of years. 'Descending' is a six-minute piece that starts out reasonably well - I actually thought it might be the Excruciation track to begin with! - but then settles down into a steady and slow-burning Death/Doom chug marked, but not really defined by, some moody guitar and vocals. To be honest, I kind of preferred it when they were putting out single-take more randomly Monarch-esque Noise/Drone/Doom combinations that evolved over several allegedly-different but largely-continuous sections. That was rough and raw, but more interesting and committed.

By contrast, B-side 'Haunted' could almost be described as a perfect Excruciation primer, condensing practically their entire history into five minutes that run the gamut from modern-day Death/Doom to the more punky Thrash energy of their now-distant roots. If you're familiar with the band, you won't find any great surprises here; if you're not, it's a pretty good pointer as to whether you'd like to investigate further. Either way, there's no knocking the way the Swiss veterans can still amp up the volume and deliver a faceful of good old-fashioned Metal.

I'm going to stay a little noncommittal on Heavydeath - theirs isn't a bad offering, but I haven't listened to enough of their catalogue to be certain how representative it is. However, it's a good match for the split, the Excruciation piece is typically solid, and you do get the picture disc 7" release in an interesting package. The single card-fold sleeve is quite comprehensive, with separate artwork for each band, plenty of information, and all the lyrics too. (And with nice attention to detail - the promo version is a miniature CD version of that, with a mini-vinyl-single look to the disc itself).

All things being equal, I would happily buy this, but that's mostly because I do have a completionist attitude to my favourite bands, and a great fondness for physical media. It's difficult to deliver any kind of real recommendation on that basis, though - if you fall into that same kind of category, or like getting your hands on some retro vinyl, by all means join in supporting indie labels and underground bands putting out real releases. If not, well, it makes for a comparatively expensive sampler when full-lengths by either band are quite readily available. Your call, really.

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Descending
2. Haunted

Visit the Heavydeath bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 11 minutes

Visit the Excruciation bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-05-13 by Mike Liassides
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