Bent Sea/To Dust – Ascend/Descend – Split (Review)

Bent SeaThis is a split release between Bent Sea and To Dust, both of which play grindcore and both of which feature a plethora of members/ex-members of bands such as Aborted, Megadeth, Soilwork, Napalm Death, (Bent Sea), and Abigail Williams, Vintage Warlords, Humanity Is Cancer, Grave Plague, Fountain of Piss, Severed Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder and Phobia, (To Dust).

Phew. As you can see, there’s a lot of experience here.

The first half of the split is provided by Bent Sea, who give us almost 10 minutes of state-of-the-art ferocity.

I was looking forward to hearing this, as their split from a few years ago with Usurpress is a firm favourite of mine. They have not disappointed.

These songs blast by with the assured fervour of seasoned veterans and the know-how of master workmen.

The familiar, (and much loved), vocals of the singer are always a joy to hear, and he’s as relentlessly aggressive as always on this release.

The songs are short, brutal stabs of sharpness, the likes of which made their previous output so enjoyable. They do find the time to slow things down a bit here and there though, showing that they’re more than one-trick ponies. Gluttonous Death has a Hellishly impressive mid-section, for example, while Ascend is the longest track here at 4 minutes in length and demonstrates the band’s range of skills to great effect.

The tracks have a strong, muscular and clear production that allows all of the instruments to have their day in court, even the oft-neglected bass.

Well, I expected great things and Bent Sea delivered even more than that. There’s a reason that they’re becoming one of my favourite grind bands, and that reason is the simple fact that they’re just so very, very good at what they do. Crikeyblimey!

To DustAs for the second half, we now move on to To Dust’s offering, which clocks in at a lengthier seventeen minutes.

Boasting tracks that are much longer on average than those of Bent Sea, To Dust nonetheless play their grindcore with as much fury, passion and destruction as they can offer.

This is modern grind that combines elements of deathgrind with an even nastier form of grindcore the likes of which Pig Destroyer peddle.

The songs on their side of the split offer the listener a feast of brutality and energetic grooves to get their jagged teeth into. The high-energy bastardised punk of the Pig Destroyer influences go hand in bloody hand with the deathgrind side of their sound, resulting in an unholy marriage of mutually-beneficial horror and destructive intent.

The singer screams and shouts himself into fits of apoplexy; alongside this venomous assault, his deathgrowls sound like malevolence incarnate.

After Bent Sea’s superb contribution, a half-assed grind follow up just wasn’t gonna cut it. Thankfully To Dust have risen to the challenge like the seasoned, bloodthirsty professionals they are.

As grindcore releases go, this is pretty much as damn-near essential as it gets. So just get it.

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