Attack! Vipers! / Astpai - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Attack! Vipers! / Astpai

Split (2008)

We Heart Records / Laserlife

The UK's Attack! Vipers! come up first on this eight-song split EP and right off the bat thoroughly confuse me. I can't really tell if they're just a bit directionless or really good at playing different styles of hardcore; it's probably somewhere in between. See, the first minute of their opener, "Atlantic Hearts," rides a very weird middle ground between melodic, restrained screamo, like something Envy might write, and the more slow-burning tracks off This Is Hell's Sundowning; then it picks up considerably in tempo and overall aggression, becoming a riffy, half-decent and mostly straightforward hardcore song. "Come Dungeons Deep or Gallows Grim" is a little more chaotic, like HopeCon or Diet Converge, but again, it breaks down slower and the transition seems kinda disjointed. Their last one, "Fire in Your Lungs," is pretty interesting, with soft, layered acoustic plucks in between those roasted screams and bottom-heavy guitars; the closing part is most reminiscent of straight-up Euro screamo. Overall, something seem a little off about A!V!, but I'm hardly going to write them off. They've got something going on here; I'm just not 100% sure what it is.

Austria's Astpai follow up their 2008 full-length, Corruption Concealed (Under Deceptive Slogans), with four songs here to match A!V!'s. They beat out A!V! a little bit with their brand of melodic punk/hardcore. I described Corruption Concealed as somewhere between None More Black and Kid Dynamite, only not quite as good as that might sound. Their songs here largely land in that same territory, but with a pinch more originality. A little more cohesion and I could see these songs really making a bang. As is, they're not bad, and certainly have their moments; a track like "The Scavenger" showcases a boatload of different tempos and vocal styles while still sounding like the same band. Not too much on their side really grabs my interest too hard, including their cover of Nerve Agents' "Carpe Diem," but there's a good beat about things, and the more upbeat closer "Of Imposition and Instinct" is real solid.

Attack! Vipers! - Atlantic Hearts
Astpai - The Scavenger