As We Draw / Euglena / Hexis: Split

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As We Draw / Euglena / Hexis: Split
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As We Draw / Euglena / Hexis: Split
Hardcore, Post-Black Metal, Post-Hardcore
Throatruiner Records
November 1st, 2011
Release length: 25:41
As We Draw Myspace
Euglena Myspace
Hexis Myspace
Throatruiner Records is not a label that is unfamiliar to me, as I have had past run ins with them and their roster in the recent past. One of the things this label is good for is getting some music relatively cheap, and this Split offering is another entry into that state of mind. As We Draw, Euglena, and Hexis all come together for a three way split release that clocks in just under twenty six minutes, and can downloaded for free directly from the label’s Bandcamp page, download for a price that you decide, as well as will be available on 12″ vinyl and CD. With this approach being something smaller labels and bands, as well as larger acts have been embracing, it’s almost impossible to pass up throwing a few dollars to the bands and labels and checking out what they have to offer. But, in the case of this Split release, is that a good thing?

Among the bands, the first two are clearly a Hardcore group, and the latter, Hexis more a Post-Black Metal group, still having Hardcore roots, but all centered around some Black Metal material. The audio quality for both bands comes through pretty raw with the typical underground Hardcore lo-fi production to them. The guitars for As We Draw and Euglena come off pretty heavy with a strong backing by the bass guitar, and the drum kits having a muffled audio quality to it that is similar to the guitars, making the snares sound relatively wooden with loud thuds for bass kicks, and cymbols that can really be loud in comparison. Both of the bands also utilize screaming vocals, though As We Draw can go off into a more whiny territory at times that can feel reall out of place, such as on “Fingers to Stab.” These two acts compose the first five songs of the release, while Hexis handles the last two, and clearly takes a completely different route with the production. These offerings often come through more like cold, raw recordings despite the additional Hardcore presence, jumping from shouting vocals to the traditional rhaspy approach. The guitars have a sharper Black Metal distortion to them that captures the rawer sound well, again finding the bass more as support but a bit louder in the lower volume. It feels like the audio, which is surprisingly clear on the cymbols and snares, is just restrained, which gives it that raw tone, though far from what a “kvlt” recording enthusiast would ever consider along those lines.

As We Draw kicks things off with some of the aforementioned whinier screams, which clash against the heavy bass groove that slowly builds up the song against the drumming. It’s a catchy start despite that vocal approach, though even that starts to work in the band’s favor gradually as it becomes more of a higher pitch shout instead of coming off in the aforementioned manner. This doesn’t fall into consideration when the band tries to be a little atmospheric in a Between the Buried and Me vein, as the cleaner vocals actually are simply whiny. But, despite that issue, the song itself is enjoyable, and has a nice Post-Hardcore approach to it with some surprisinly well executed atmosphere to it. The same can be said for their second track, except the vocals here just feel better suited to the stronger atmosphere the band brings in, and are a little more stable for the most part. Thankfully, Euglena comes in next with some relatively shorter songs, and an all around stronger and better fitting vocal performance. Although none of this becomes immediately known thanks to the just under three minute introductory track “Before After,” which does take a bit of a Drone approach to the band’s Hardcore sound. It does feel a bit drawn out, but the song does at least bleed into it’s obvious successor, “After the Before.” The shift feels good for the song overall, and the slower pace does help to make the track feel a little heavier, which is a big help giving the audio being a bit higher then you would hope for this style. The following contribution, “Renaissance,” actually starts off pretty good with a little more energy to it, but it seems to slow down again and go onto more of a trudging, Droning approach that eventually starts to fade instruments out or add an echoing distortion to them before giving way to a good amount of static, leaving you to feel like the song itself didn’t really go as far as it could have.

While the first two performances end up being enjoyable, though both sharing varied flaws, it’s the Hexis contributions that are the most intriguing. The mixture of Black Metal and Post-Hardcore, and even a little Drone to the mix leaves these two tracks feeling like something fresh and different to experience. “Crux,” the longest of the two just shy of six and a half minutes, has a strong Black Metal foundation, which eventually goes into some well utilized droning material that also seems to focus more on a breakdown then anything else, utilizing the ringing out of guitar chords well to keep this section somewhat rich and enjoyable for the latter two thirds of the song. The closing track, however, is just not as great. It’s much like Euglena‘s “Renaissance” in the sense that it starts out a little enjoyable, then goes off into a droning style that goes on a bit too long and really doesn’t offer anything too much to the listener.

For a split of three bands that cover a decent aray of styles, this one is pretty good, though not the most impressive. As We Draw, Euglena, and Hexis will all appeal to fans of Hardcore, it depends on what your taste is. Do you prefer higher pitched Screamo vocals with a whiny attitude at times? Would you rather a more droning Hardcore approach? Or how about mixing that Post-Hardcore and Drone with a Post-Black Metal approach for something truly unique and interesting? While all three bands can definitely use a little more growth and some tighter material, this Split release does make for a good addition to your collection, especially given the ways you can obtain it. If you’re a cheap bastard and go the free route, then how can you pass up giving it a chance, or even throwing the band some money for it if you like the release or just want to help out. The choice is yours, and in the long run it’s not a bad release, certainly not one of the best split releases available, but for the price you pay, it’s still a good deal that’s literally risk free to try.

As We Draw:
01. Fingers to Point – 3:53
02. Fingers to Stab – 4:19

Euglena:
03. Before After – 2:48
04. After the Before – 2:19
05. Renaissance – 3:29

Hexis:
06. Crux – 6:25
07. Nex – 2:29

Overall Score: 7/10

As We Draw


Euglena


Hexis

Digital review copy of this release provided by Throatruinner Records.