Genre: Grindcore | Label: Grindfather
Location: Winnipeg, MB/Italy| Listen: Bandcamp
More Archagathus? Of course! It’s easy to binge on their releases, and seeing as they’ve done splits with so many different bands, a few of them are bound to end up on the Archives. This is a split 10″ from 2016 with an Italian grind band called Terror Firmer. Much like many of the other bands Archagathus has done splits with, this is the only Terror Firmer material I’m familiar with.
For Archagathus’ side, they unearthed 11 tracks that were recorded in 2010 that average about a minute in length. If you’re familiar with what Archagathus sounded like in the few years prior to their “Canadian Horse” LP, this fits into that era pretty well. It’s a little more on the raw side, but not as raw as the real early stuff. The songwriting is a little more punk oriented than the later death metal influenced stuff, going pretty hard on polka thrash beats, d-beats, but of course keeping plenty of blast beats too. This recording was done entirely by Dan, but then he and Joe did all the vocals in 2015. As usual, there’s a variety of different harsh vocal styles that change almost every line, with groans, growls, and pitch shifted gurgles. They go full on d-beat at points, adding in simple Discharge solos, like in the closer “Sad System.” The songs are pretty much standard affair for the band, although the rawness of them leaves a little to be desired, especially when compared to the production on material that was recorded later on.
The production is clearer on the Terror Firmer style, and their buzzy distorted bass tone is the first thing that stands out to me. It’s surprisingly well separated from the guitar tone, and the drums are pretty clean. There’s also quite a lot of punk influence on these Terror Firmer songs, and they employ a good amount of thrash influence too, giving these songs a decent amount of dynamic. Like Archagathus, they employ a lot of different vocal styles, but it seems to be done by just one person. Some of his higher vocals kind of suck, but he’s competent otherwise. The songs themselves, although full of energy, aren’t particularly memorable, and I haven’t bothered checking out any more Terror Firmer. Their side includes a cover of Repulsion’s “Black Breath” which is very well suited for their bass tone, and it’s the highlight of their side. Their side ends with a noisy songs that’s perhaps trying to emulate Napalm Death’s obsession with Swans, but it really misses the mark, and just seems like a waste of 4 minutes.
Overall, this isn’t a split you need to hear unless you’re a big fan of Archagathus. Their side features the usual affair for them in terms of songs, but is a little more raw due to it being an older recording. The Terror Firmer side is decent, but could’ve been better, especially without the noise track at the end. As I’ve said in other reviews for Archagathus, having more than just their side of a split 7″ on a single releases is nice, as there’s definitely more to enjoy on the 10″ format.