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Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes/Konflict - Poisonous Gas Thrower Of Jigoku/Conflict Is Control

To be honest I had no idea what to expect when I chose this split release as my next subject to review. Of course the quite peculiar band name Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes is a clear indication this is not exactly a run-of-the-mill type of band, making it fair to assume the same goes for Konflict. So I braced myself for what might be coming my way before I fired it up and that proved to be a good move. The noise both bands manage to produce is only appreciated by a select group of fans, as both bands play what is best described as grindcore at its filthiest mixed with black and death metal influences.

The split kicks off with Japan-hailing Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes’ contribution, which consists of eight songs played at an ultra-high speed. Opener ‘Poisonous gas thrower of Jigoku’ leaves little room for interpretation, they put the pedal to the metal almost immediately. The music is at times surprisingly melodic, but the overall feel of the song is predominated by the speed, making it hard to determine the individual instruments. Somehow, though, I get the feeling that is of less importance. The vocals are best described as maniacal, bordering on demonic, as they should be in this extreme corner of the musical spectrum. All in all an impressive wall of sound comes your way, one that gets even bigger when the next couple of songs wreak havoc on your eardrums. The only exception, and a surprising one at that, is the song ‘Doku’. Instead of ultra-high speeds this song has a slow pace, deep growling vocals and almost psychedelic soundscapes. A true stranger among their midst. As if they realize that themselves as well, the rest of the album, as if to make up for the loss of speed, they push the speed limits even more, culminating in the backbreaking ‘Forest of deathcamp’.

Sri Lanka based Konflict has completely different ideas on how to open. 'Control and dominate is what thou wilt do' is a weird instrumental (if that at all) piece of which I have no idea what its meaning or function is. The meaning of Konflict themselves, however, gets clear pretty soon after this when they show their true colors with the devastating ‘Nonquam non paratus’. Like their Japanese counterparts they know what deadly speed is, and especially the drum work is inhumanly fast at times. The vocals are obscure, monstrous, like growls from the deep, adding an eerie vibe to Konflict’s music. Fitting I’d say. Apart from the intro they offer you nine insane songs that will shake the very foundation of your being. No surprises here, just twenty minutes of straightforward grindcore.

Despite the easily audible differences when it comes to execution, both bands can be found in the same distant corner of metal. This split is an evil, filthy, relentless 45-minute grindcore attack on your eardrums and is most definitely not for the faint of hearted. It takes quite some experience to learn to listen to this type of extreme music and even more experience to appreciate the skill needed to produce it and then still there’s not many people who will like this. The limited audience is probably the reason why they only released 66 copies of this split on cassette (!). For those with a taste for the destructive, the obscure and the extreme this is well worth a listen, if you can get your hands on a copy that is, the rest better run while they can.

Written by Henric van Essen

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