Red Animal War/Slowride - split CD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Red Animal War / Slowride

split CD (2002)

Deep Elm

This is Deep Elm's second installment of their split CD series, and it took me forever to realize what their first one was - the Appleseed Cast/Planes Mistaken For Stars/Racecar Riot split that came out over three years ago. Kind of a lull in the split CD idea, but Deep Elm seems to be kicking the program back into gear with this release, as well as a Seven Story/Camber split due out sometime next year. But enough about the history, onto the CD itself.

Both Red Animal War and Slowride reside in Dallas, Texas, which is the theme of this split EP. The artwork, to be honest, gives me the creeps - it's all black and white images from the Kennedy assassination. The CD itself even has a sketch of the supposed "lone gunman" poised with a sniper rifle. Eerie, to say the least. Does the music back up the imagery?

Well, Red Animal War's does, at least. This band's style of hard-driven, rhythmic post-emo [if you will], gets better and better with each song. "77" is an intense tribal beat layered with repetitive guitars and harshly spat out lyrics. This song sounds like it would be a blast to play, or to see live as an audience member. Powerful stuff. Their other two contributions, "The Electric Kings," and "Modus Operandi" are more of the same, yet all three are uniquely different. RAW definitely has a grasp on their sound, and they have honed it with these three tracks.

Slowride, on the other hand, feels out of place on this CD. The layout is so somber, that the band's style of Jawbreaker-esque pop punk seems to contrast the mood set by Red Animal War. "Jesus Candle" is a really catchy song, but following RAW's "77" it just lacks something. The same happens with Slowride's other two songs on the CD - alone, they're pretty good, but since each one follows a RAW track, they pale in comparison.

This split CD, like most split CDs, has a winner and a loser - Red Animal War definitely takes home the trophy in this case. Slowride isn't neccessarily a loser - on the contrary, I'm a big fan of them. Their participation in this split, however, just seems awkward, and I feel like Red Animal War could have been matched with a band more suited to them.

But what do I know, I'm just a reviewer.