Review Summary: Split Image is a perfect way to describe an album which is somehow raw and aggressive, yet extremely catchy.
Hardcore music prides itself on one thing above all else: anger. Generally characterized by outward aggression, it's a formula which works, but is also difficult to mold into something else without straying from what makes the genre what it is. Enter Excel, a band closely tied to the crossover thrash scene, alongside groups such as Suicidal Tendencies. Though they never obtained the same amount of popularity or success as other groups of their style, they still left their own mark on the world. Taking the normal aggression found in hardcore music, Excel somehow made their debut album relentlessly catchy without compromising the core fuel of their music. The result is Split Image
: an album well worth seeking out for its decently unique take on the crossover scene.
The first thing many crossover fans want to know about an album is one simple thing: is it angry? The answer in this case is definitely a "yes", as Excel's rough production and raw performances from all members lends well to the D.I.Y. nature popular amongst many of those who were involved in the movement. It's fast, it's abrasive, it's ear-piercing, and it's overall just really satisfying to listen to. The album hosts enough variety to entice the listener into sticking around through the entire thing without it feeling samey.
On top of the usual fury that pushes the group forward, the songs are also strangely catchy. It's not something that's easy to explain, but there's something which is largely appealing about the album on the whole. Perhaps it's the nature of the riffs, which, in spite of being harsh, are still melodic and memorable enough that they stick to the back of your mind. Tracks such as Insecurity
and Never Look Away
stand out in particular as tracks that simply burrow into your cranium and refuse to let go.
It's for these reasons that Split Image
is definitely worth at least a few full listens in its entirety. Living up to and surpassing the usual expected desires of crossover junkies, as well as being perplexing in the fact that it's difficult to get out of your focus, leads to a very strong effort from a group who didn't receive their well-deserved time in the spotlight.
Never Look Away