Slaves BC / Cousin Sleaze – Split 7″ (self-released, 11 April 2013)
Several months ago, I wrote about a new EP from the Pittsburgh-based dark, caustic hardcore/metal band Slaves BC, which was titled we mean nothing. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could look it up if you searched for it, but I’m not linking to it here. Because honestly, it was among the worst articles I’ve written, and I wouldn’t advise taking the time to read it. Instead, just listen to the songs and download the EP, which you can do it you follow the Bandcamp link at the end of this page.
About that review — I’ve noticed sometimes when I really like something or really connect with a piece of music on some level, I feel inadequate to convey that in words, and so I end up rambling about some other nonsense that isn’t related to the actual music. In this case, we mean nothing. centers around the concept of someone struggling and perhaps questioning the validity or value of religion — and I sort of ran with that idea, focusing more on people who place too much value on religious principles, at the expense of common sense and moral decency.
Sort of lost in all of that was my opinion of the actual music — dark and caustic, as I just said; abrasive, ultra-heavy. Some music is described as “doom metal” which usually seems to foretell a bleak, dire outcome; some music is “post-apocalyptic,” representing that tragic new reality. What Slaves BC bring is more like DURING the apocalypse: there isn’t doom coming, it’s happening RIGHT FUCKING NOW.
Anyway, one thing I did point out in that review was that the sound had improved dramatically over their first release, the demo album This World Shall Pass Away. With that in mind, the appearance of any new Slaves material should be really exciting. And GUESS WHAT — today we have exactly that! Two new songs, to be exact, coupled with a pair from the band’s comrades from New York, Cousin Sleaze.
The four-song split is available as of today on CD (if you come to the bands’ joint release show TONIGHT at The Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh — see below for details), and the 7″ vinyl version (in three different colors) can be ordered now, and will be out in the very near future!
The first thing that strikes me about this new split was that they chose not to give it an actual title. Slaves BC / Cousin Sleaze Split 7″ is fine, and accurate and descriptive, but it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like Cousin Slaves, Sleaze BC, or even Basin Sleaves might have. But that’s okay, I suppose the bands chose to expend their creativity on the actual music instead — or perhaps that sweet cover art, which I understand was adapted by Slaves vocalist/drummer Josh Thieler from an engraving by French artist Gustave Doré (who was most famous for his illustrations for books such as Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, and even the Bible).
So, let us look first at the Slaves BC half of the split. (By the way, did you know “Slaves BC / Cousin Sleaze” can be anagrammed as “A Less Concussive Blaze”?)
Once again, we see the band showing a bit of a progression since their last release; while not groundbreakingly new or unrecognizibly different by any means, they definitely seem to be embracing the darkness and heaviness even more now. The two songs here, “To My Beloved Bride” and “Place Axe to Root,” feature plenty of the noisy feedback and aggression that is characteristic of the hardcore genre, but unlike a lot of their peers, this band always injects high levels of passion and pain into everything they do — beyond just pure aggressiveness for its own sake. It’s very fast and in-your-face stuff, but clearly rooted in a very dark place, which comes through plainly in the recording to the point where the listener him/herself can actually feel that pain and emotion.
You can listen to this side of the split, and grab a download of these two songs, here:
Then on the other side of the split (which could also be anagrammed as “Loveless Zinc Abacuses”), we find two songs, “Indecision” and “Begin Again,” by the New York band Cousin Sleaze.
This starts out similarly to the first side of the record: feedback and anger. But then the vocals jump in, resembling a more Anselmo-esque type of aggressiveness. Musically, too, I find these songs to be comparable to the groove-metal style prevalent on Pantera‘s last couple albums, for the most part, but with a healthy dose of hardcore influence thrown in as well — especially in the drumming. Halfway through the first song, everything cuts out suddenly, leaving only a dramatically slowed-down bass line, that then ramps sharply back up in intensity as the other parts re-enter; small details like this tend to add interest to what this band is serving up, in stark contrast to the ultra-cheesy breakdowns that are far too common among some bands nowadays…
You can also sample the Cousin Sleaze side of the split on Bandcamp, here:
The Slaves BC / Cousin Sleaze 7″ Split (another possible alternate title: “A Sizable Success Novel”) is available in your choice of black, white, or clear from Slaves BC here, or from Cousin Sleaze here. The records are limited to 300 copies total — 100 per color, 50 of which will be available from each band.
Tonight’s show celebrating the release of the split (okay, okay, one last anagram: “Soulless Cave Is Zen Cab”) will be taking place at The Smiling Moose on East Carson Street, Pittsburgh. Full details on the event, which will also feature locals Under Everything and Sikes!, can be found here.
If you won’t be near the Pittsburgh area, perhaps you can still catch the sleazy cousins on one of their other upcoming tour dates.