Review Summary: Kicks more ass than a perpetual ass kicking machine
Yes this is hardcore, it's the huge sounding sludgy kind, where the bass guitar is massive and distorted and actually audible in the mix. This is the kind of hardcore that's rock hard and heavy, the kind that's harder than getting all 120 stars in Super Mario Sunshine. This is a full length split by two of the biggest names in the modern crust scene: Alpinist and Masakari. Both bands alternate between breakneck speeds and slow, sludgy sections which give the album a nice dynamic sound. Both band's impressive sludgy and dissonant brand of crust had me rocking hard, and made me not want to do laundry for like two weeks.
Alpinist's first five tracks are a mostly power chord affair with a real punk vibe to them. The drums alternate between d-beat and blasts while the vocalist ear shattering yells hearken back to the old days of hardcore. Alpinist's side ends with the post-metal tune "Quelle Valeur Reste," which is a mostly instrumental tune that's chock full of droning, strangely melodic guitars that trudge the track along before it explodes into a cacophony of sludge that does a great job of ending the first side. Alpinist set the bar high with their screamo influenced crust that perfectly blends consonance and dissonance with its guitar melodies.
Masakari's side comes out swinging with "The Obscene Underbelly," which starts off with a dark and melancholy arpeggio that might make one think they're listening to an Envy record before the sludgy chords kick in and grab you by the balls. The rest of Masakari's split is in your face, heavy, sludgy, and occasionally grind-esque crust that makes Alpinist's side look like day out in the park with your mom. Masakari's crushing metallic sound is a fitting compliment to Alpinist's more punk influenced side that brings some much needed variety to the split.
There's a ton of garden variety hardcore going around in the internet age, and standing out as a beautiful blooming flower in a garden of weeds is pretty difficult. Thankfully both bands rock hard, but as is true with most splits, one band's side is better than the other, and the clear winner is Alpinist. Masakari's side is great, but doesn't stand out as much as it mostly blurs into a cacophony of noise that isn't as memorable. Even so, Alpinist and Masakari put out an excellent crusty split that will rattle your brain and grow hair on your chest, but most importantly keep your ears satisfied.