If you're familiar with Cerce, you know what you're in for, but what makes this split much more pleasant is that Stresscase ends up stealing the spotlight. There's nothing better than the relenting pace on tap here, in just under fifteen minutes.
Cerce bring their typical game—thrashy and everything else vicious about hardcore. Last time I sank my teeth into them, they wowed with a 7-inch with skramz-underdogs Leer, and here, they're at it again. "Damaged Goods" ghosts its way with the violent intent and musical brawl Cerce are known for. The swelling rage clutters and pummels thoroughly and it's great to see Cerce have no intention of fizzling. "Intrusions" follows suit, with the same sprawl of noise with the guitars swirling heavily to cement the in-your-face stance Cerce take.
Shrill at times? A bit, but very fucking loud and potent nonetheless. There's a haunting breakdown here that mystifies as it manages to show the prowess and command that's spilling on the mic. 'Tell me who you think I am / Tell me what the fuck I am / Tell me what the fuck I've become / Tell me who you think I am / Tell me who the fuck I am / I swear I'm human' gave me goosebumps. "Blossom" echoes the screaming currents inflicted by Cerce, with pounding drums and so much pent-up emotion, it astounds. They clearly didn't take their foot off the gas in 2013 and nothing but big things should be expected for them going forward.
Stresscase then proceed with their barrage of gripping riffs and hardcore missives. "Lonely Leach" and "In Her Eyes" are fueled by Sarahrae Norrbom's high-octane presence, but moreso, they're driven by the powerful work of Cam Zakary's drums. He's crisp and tight, with each strike thudding to emphasize and cement their points. Even the self-titled instrumental offers a decent respite, though it's not much of a breather from the fervent attitude Stresscase eke out. "Shallow Gasps" continues the fits of energy in abundance, to echo just how boisterous, engaging and probing Stresscase are in its endeavors. They had that extra edge, building on already-impressive work from Cerce.
This split carves out, pound-for-pound, two prime examples of the heavyweights in this genre at present. Whatever these bands pack in their arsenal, it'll do their repertoire no harm because in their fields, they're running rampant. This split signifies just why you need to sit the fuck down and take note.