Splits aren’t usually my cup of tea. Besides a few here and there, they remain largely ignored, considered extraneous. However, when I heard that one of my most favourite bands ever of all time, CONVERGE – who really can do no wrong – and the mighty NAPALM DEATH were teaming up for one such release, it was immediately promoted to the greatest heights of necessity and anticipation.
The CONVERGE side features the song “No Light Escapes”, which is expected to feature on their album “All We Love We Leave Behind” – due out later this year – and a star-studded cover of ENTOMBED’s “Wolverine Blues”, featuring Brian Izzi of TRAP THEM, Tomas Lindburg (AT THE GATES, DISFEAR), Aaron Turner (ISIS, OLD MAN GLOOM) and Kevin Baker from THE HOPE CONSPIRACY and ALL PIGS MUST DIE; all contributing vocals. “No Light Escapes” is a pretty standard CONVERGE ditty, a bit more Hardcore in nature than some of their recent output, sharing most in common with some of the lesser tracks on “You Fail Me”. Far more exciting is the “Wolverine Blues” cover. The band completely own that riff, drenching it in their trademark guitar tone and feedback. The band mould the song into a far more punk-sounding number you’d sworn they’d written themselves.
NAPALM DEATH’s side is longer – not something you’d really think to associate with NAPALM…, but hey – allowing for a bit more time to take in the music before it’s blurred past, done and dusted. Both songs showcase the more reserved side of the band, rather than an all out riff / blast assault. “No Impediment To Triumph”, written about the Bhopal gas disaster, in particular stands out, as a more minimal incarnation of the band’s progressive tendencies. Both songs sound like they could be, and probably are, b-sides from the recently released “Utilitarian”, but it’s still NAPALM DEATH, so what’s not to love? So yeah, nothing really amazing here, but for roughly three dollars off iTunes, it’s hardly worth passing up. While it may reinforce my notion about splits being largely inessential, it also takes advantage of the platform to do something a little interesting (with the “Wolverine Blues” cover) and keep the old appetite wetted by two from the best bands in the business.
(Online August 12, 2012)