Split Cranium

Split Cranium

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A side project of sorts that feels like a bit like a series of tribute bands in a blender, Split Cranium is the kind of bit of ridiculous fun that ends up working not in spite of itself, but because it was supposed to work that way to start with. With Isis veteran Aaron Turner drafted in to provide a slew of vocal roaring over Jussi Lehtisalo and company's none-more-metal riffing insanity and moodsetting, Split Cranium pretty well sets a tone from the start with "Little Brother," almost riffing along as a hoarser-voiced Motörhead with more of a guitar lead. And this is no bad thing, especially when the drums get even more frenetic at the end. There's a sense of rollicking craziness throughout, some busting out, some swaggering boogie breakdowns, as on the brilliantly titled "Blossoms from Boils," and other times just firing up and going for it like an '80s hardcore band convinced that nothing else matters but speed and rock, thus "Tiny Me" from the get-go, then the immediately following "The Crevice Within" doing that at an even faster pace. Elsewhere "Sceptres to Rust" starts off with a frazzled, trebly solo then rips into beats that could almost be the second coming of late-'80s Ministry, while "Yellow Mountain" is another song where just a little swing makes things more enjoyable even as heads are kicked in. Meanwhile, the ending "Retrace the Circle" lets the band stretch out a bit with the longest song, throwing in just about everything plus the kitchen sink, with Turner's distant, chanted vocals and hyperactive Iron Maiden/Metallica riffage slowly evolving into a vocal-only glaze as the louder stuff collapses into the background as shading, and finally, shreds into bits of wrecked feedback.

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