The Murdering Monsters

Crown Sat. Nov. 11

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A split cassette from two of Dunedin, New Zealand's newer groups at the start of the 21st century, Crown Sat. Nov 11 consists of live sets recorded on that date in 2000 at the venue in question. Slag Strut label owner Pat Kraus is the link between both acts, drumming for both, but each band has its own approach to deliver to the world, and deliver each does. The Aesthetics, a power trio in format but not sounding anything much like Cream (thankfully), make some righteously scuzzy noise on their side over eight tracks' worth of sound. Guitarist/singer Matt Middleton has a fair amount of noisy attitude in his vocals -- a good thing -- and more than once the combination of his vamping and the sludge/crunch of the music suggests what Flipper would have been like with a slightly more traditional but still crazed singer. Highlights include "Succubi," which cooks up a huge amount of noise that the rough recording quality makes sound even better, and the bemusedly titled "Pelvic Arcana in 78 Degrees." The Murdering Monsters have something of the same death march quality on a number of songs, but two worthy elements in particular -- Beth Dawson's singing and Dianne Smith's keyboards -- help set the Monsters apart from the Aesthetics. Hearing Dawson's take-charge singing and Smith's heavy-as-hell drones and jams on cuts like "Cars That Roar" and "Pretty Picture" makes, along with the other good rock noise from the band, for a loud, fun time. Opening cut "Rack" alone is a murdering monster in its own right, to the point where the audience sounds too stunned to initially cheer at its end! Crowd support is vocal and amped-up for both acts, and the whole evening sounds like it was a blast all around.