Ringworm/Child Bite - Split Hits the Fans (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Ringworm / Child Bite

Split Hits the Fans (2019)

Failure Records & tapes

I’ve been very forthcoming about my love of Failure Records & Tapes’ Split Hits the Fans split seven inch series. They remind me of the good old days when it seemed like all of my favorite bands were constantly collaborating on these little pieces of plastic. Volume five has done nothing but stoke my enthusiasm. It also happens to be the heaviest one yet, featuring Cleveland’s Ringworm and Detroit’s Child Bite. Failure has always been a punk and metal label, and both of these bands exist in the gray area between the two genres.

Ringworm is one of those rare heavy bands that actually seems to be getting better with age. Nearly 30 years into their career, they’re doing some of their very best work. They continue to blur the lines between hardcore and metal in all the best ways. The two Ringworm contributions to Split Hits the Fans were digital bonus tracks from their critically acclaimed Relapse LP Death Becomes My Voice, but this is the first time they’ve been available physically. These are not throwaway songs. I’m not sure why they weren’t included on that record, but it wasn’t because they weren’t good enough. “I Hide In You” is a relentless D-beat rager, and “I’m Not Right” has more of a groove. Human Furnace’s raspy howl is front and center.

Child Bite’s attack has also only sharpened in recent years. Their earliest material was really noisy weirdness. Over the last half decade they’ve found a better balance of punk, metal, noise, aggression and weirdness. Especially since they started recording for Phil Anselmo’s Housecore label. If you’ve seen them live, you certainly understand. They’ve already put out about a dozen splits, and are a vinyl collectors dream (or nightmare). The three Child Bite songs are each barely over a minute long. They feel like a set of deformed triplets. “The Creeper”, “The Masochist” and “The Fool” are a great introduction to a band that deserves a bigger (and weirder) audience.

Child Bite singer Shawn Knight and bassist Sean Clancy did the artwork and designed the packaging for Split Hits the Fans volume five, and it is exceptional. The jacket is a piece of art in itself. Like the previous versions, this is limited to a one time pressing of 500 pieces on random color vinyl. If you’re a physical collector of heavy stuff, you better not sleep on this.