Always on top of their game in the consistency of great releases, the good folks at Hydra Head Industries have graced the world with yet another notable and titanic split, this time putting the epic loudness of Isis face to face with the one and only gods of alt/stoner Metal/total weirdness, the Melvins.
With two rare tracks from the Wavering Radiant sessions (as well as their last recordings as a band), Isis offer "Way Through Woven Branches," which has only seen light on the Japanese issue of Wavering Radiant. 'Way Through Woven Branches' opens with a single ionic guitar, toning slowly into a heavy hammer of crunch and fuzz. Frontman Aaron Turner has turned the reverb up on the vocals, this time giving an arena-sized feel to his gruffness, and gives way to the hypnotic interlude that ensues into the bridge of the song, in true Isis form.
Next up, "The Pliable Foe" has been made exclusive to this release (unless it's made its way onto some torrent online) and not officially anywhere else. The song begins with compelling and somewhat tribal drums, as the droning guitar and chiming keyboards harmonize together, creating a huge wall of sound that slowly fades in such a dissolving fashion. It almost, for a moment, seems dreamy.
With this split holding some of the last Isis recordings ever, these two tracks alone are a definite for any fan of the band.
On the flipside, the Melvins have taken two tracks from their latest release, The Bride Screamed Murder, down the "alternate version" route. Completely remixed by the band themselves, both tracks, though originally having the heavy driving formula that the Melvins have been known for, tweaked these two songs it seems, as almost for their own, twisted enjoyment. However, it is not a 90-degree turn to obnoxious noise and utter confusion à la "Colossus of Destiny."
"Pig House," clearly changed up from its original form, opens with a strange and quirky drum intro, trailing into a chunky guitar riff. Vocalist King Buzzo, along with bassist Jared Warren, bellow into chant-like moans, as group whistles fade into silence, very similar to "Roadbull" off of the classic Stoner Witch.
The second track, "I'll FInish You Off" starts off with a deafening idle guitar suddenly crushing into a formidable hook of sludge, intertwining with bleeps, bloops and squishy electro twinks, like confetti over a sweaty mosh pit. The sludge progresses, along with Buzzo's vocals, as they are slowly shrunk into a chipmunk-style chorus accompanied by a funeral organ, until spinning into a loop of rolling drums courtesy of Coady Willis and Dale Crover.
Any fan of either band should find this gem of a twelve-inch well to place in their collection, as two of the biggest and loudest subverted bands go up against each other, making this a solid release.