INxSANE / Despite Everything - Split [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

INxSANE / Despite Everything

Split [10-inch] (2012)

Moonlee Records

Vinyl with a circumference of 31.4 inches. Four songs of a punk rock nature. Two bands representing two countries in Europe. A seven label co-release. There are a lot of numbers to be found on this release and as a bean counter this pleases me as I find something easy about figures. However, despite the grooves on this record featuring two new bands to my ears I have to admit it’s taken me some time to actually get my head round the right words to convey what I hear here having got this record much earlier in the year but think I’ve sussed it now.

Up first is INxSANE from Slovenia (or as I found out on t’internet, it is officially the Republic of Slovenia, a nation state situated in Central Europe which had a population in the region of 2 million in 2011). The first track, “12#,” is quite an energetic affair with guitars blazing, vocals being sung and spat out at times reminiscent of Samiam, all of which has quite a positive effect on me. As a further plus point, I like the lyrical content of the track as well which is always a bonus. Following this is “Born Again,” which is quite the opposite really as it spends a lot of time building and fading at each end with the occasional frenzied burst of activity in between. At first I struggled with the song as it seemed to lack direction, but over repeated plays it has managed to weave its way into my head and I find myself liking it more and more, finding something in it that draws me into its atmospheric feel. As with the first track, the lyrics also help with me enjoying the track and sometimes to have the clarity of what might be the meaning behind a track helps explain its route.

Following on from the Slovenians comes Despite Everything hailing from Greece (officially the Hellenic Republic and a country beset with huge financial problems) and the featured tracks, “No Smoke Without Fire” and “At Arms Length,” are more immediate than those of their fellow Europeans. If anything, I am reminded of bands like the Magnificent and the Dauntless Elite when listening to Despite Everything--not that they sound like carbon copies of either band, just that there is a thick wedge of guitar along with a fair dose of melody within the music, part of the formula I associate with those bands. As with INxSANE, the second track from Despite Everything is the better of the two and the thing that sticks out is the drumming which is precise and concise, driving “At Arms Length” along with some added punch.

The more I hear both sides of this record, the more I feel the songs seeping into me. If I had to pick a favorite track it would have to be “Born Again,” as this was the song where it took me much more time to find a suitable appreciation and I also believe there is an epic quality to it that sets it apart from the other three songs.

The many labels involved in making this 10” possible are Moonlee Records (Slovenia), Jump Start Records (USA), Fond of Life Records (Germany), No Reason Records (Italy), Not Shy of the DIY Records (UK), Laserlife Records (Austria) and Poutana Ola Records (Greece). Hopefully, some of you have joined me in learning some useless facts as well as finding out about two decent bands during this review process.