REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
‘Split’ doesn’t just mean the title of the new EP from Escape Is Not Freedom, it means a whole lot more.
A four-track offering, two from the Chicago trio, and two more from Israeli outfit dusK Village, both of the songs provided by those outfits are markedly different from one another.
Escape Is Not Freedom are first up, with a follow-up to last year’s debut album, ‘Goldsmith’.
The band’s, and the EP’s, opener, ‘Boiling Nails’, is a heavy and intense affair, delivered at breakneck speed, and containing fuzzy guitar riffs, rough basslines, and hammering drum beats, also taking in elements of rock, noise, sludge and grunge.
All of this is accompanied to great effect by the angst-ridden vocals of the collective’s frontman, Mike Gussis.
In stark contrast, their next track, ‘We’re Wrecked’, starts off as more mellow fare, starting off with a slow and gentle riff that remains melodic, but gets progressively heftier as it moves forward.
Whereas ‘Boiling Nails’ was driven by the rasping, anguished vocals, the sound takes the lead on this, especially with a lengthy instrumental that starts halfway through and lasts around two minutes.
Emily Jancetic, a vocalist who featured on ‘Goldsmith’ and makes a welcome appearance here, really gets a chance to shine with a performance abundant in harmony and strength.
Escape Is Not Freedom’s half of the EP, by transiting between two uniquely crafted songs, is an effective vehicle for their diverse creativity, and that is something dusK Village aim for with their half, albeit with slightly less success.
Their first track, ‘Exolife Civilization Leak’, is constantly edgy and atmospheric, taking you down a very dark path indeed with moody riffs and hoarse vocals deposited at a gradual pace.
This is definitely the stronger of the two, as ‘A Self Fan’, even though done with more energy and pretty much the same level of intensity, is dominated by a guitar riff performed at such a loud volume that it becomes very difficult to hear what the band are singing about.
It’s a real shame, because it’s clear that they’re a talented bunch of guys, but I can’t help but think that it would have made for a much better listen had the vocals been stronger.
That aside, ‘Split’ is an offering that sees, for the most part, both collectives really stepping up to the plate, and serves as a solid introduction to fans of Escape Is Not Freedom who have yet to hear the work of dusK Village, and vice-versa.
CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH ESCAPE IS NOT FREEDOM HERE.