This split cost me about £3, came with two patches, and is done brilliantly, Natty, the vocalist from Cassus handled the artwork and making the tapes (each cover was hand scored and printed by him), and you can tell they spent hours working on it all. It’s worth it, if you don’t have £3 to spare helping some bands out, check their respective bandcamps out and have a listen. I won’t do the cliché “list of bands similar to this and claim you should like them because you like them” thing and just say: for fans of honest, sad, fast music.
I never know how to start writing reviews, so I figured I should start alphabetically with Cassus’ side.
From the first few snare hits you can tell this is going to be an energetic band; fast and accurate. The mix on this side is perfect by the way, guitar tones are in that sweet spot between clean and distorted, enough so that it’s heavy when it needs to be and placid when required. As they’re only a four piece band, with one guitarist, the bass tone really has to stand out, which it certainly does, however there are moments where it blends in to the point where it may as well not be there, which is disappointing. It’s the lyrics combined with the dynamics of the songs that really get you in this split though, every instrument works symbiotically with the vocals to build some incredibly honest, emotional moments, such as the sombre and dark: Waltz. (All the colours are grey to me and I’m afraid of happiness). You can hear the bands influences: Orchid, Love Lost But Not Forgotten, Pg.99, the “big boys” of screamo, swinging more towards melody than chaos, which only makes the chaotic moments twice as frantic and powerful. These influences never make Cassus feel like a rip-off band though, it’s wonderful to hear a relatively young band utilise influences positively and come up with some powerful music. I also want to briefly mention how impressed I am with their guitarist Kelvins playing on this split, incredibly accurate and well written, if you know another 17 year old who can write songs like these and play them as proficiently as he does, give him a present!
They tick all the boxes on this split, they have the traditional, shorter, more chaotic songs (Nothing Lasts, Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow) and the longer songs (Alpine Folk Rock and to some extent, Waltz) showing their capability to write whatever they want, and that they’re not tied to a specific trend of song writing. A lot of screamo bands fall short there and that can seriously hinder them, a 20 track album of 1:30 songs in the same tempo kind of makes them merge together, and as good as the individual songs are, you need something different to break it up, which is one of the big reasons I was so impressed with Cassus on this split. This is a dark, emotional ten minutes of music, Nattys vocals feel sincere, and you can tell this band is a vent for all of the members, making them one of the promising bands of the genre at the moment! Keep watching these guys, listen to anything you can by them, buy a patch off them and sew it to your ex’s jacket.
Onto I Don’t Want To Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which I think is fair, that I’ll abbreviate from now on to: IDWTK. This side is raw, raw in a good way, not in a salmonella way. The mix is fitting, regardless of the sound, it’s not polished and pretty, it’s ugly and gritty. You can tell the dudes in IDWTK are passionate about this band, the screams feel genuinely pained, when his voice breaks, you can tell this is someone whose putting everything you want to bottle up and harbour into a song as his only form of expression. Those missed notes on the guitar, the breaks in his voice, the slightly out of place snare, these are tiny moments you really have to listen for to find, but they’re what make the record brilliant for me. They’re not trying to come across as a band making music, more a group of people making auditory poetry, no 6000 takes on a single riff to get it perfect, you get it as it is and accept it. To enjoy this band I feel you have to look past the obvious imperfections such as the mix and the acquired taste vocals, and look at it as more than just songs by a band, read the lyrics, if you can’t find them, ask the band for them (gee maybe even buy the split?). The brief moments of melody and harmony in this band are always morose and powerful, there are almost some post-rock influences in some parts, notably towards the end of 09 One, these harmonic moments, though few and far between capture the lyrics and carry them to you in a package of heartfelt, depressing sincerity rarely seen in modern music.
(written by Olin Skjølle)