Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sylvester Staline - split with FUBAR

Sylvester Staline MySpace
Release: 2009
Type: CD
Label: Bones Brigade

("We smoke this marijuana in your honor, Satan.")

This next band the Chainsaw Justice crew offers for your listening enjoyment comes to you with the 206-grind Stamp Of Approval. The great thing about them is that who they are depends more on your opinion of the genre than on my review. The long version: They Grind too much to be considered Powerviolence and they are far too Punk to be considered Grind. The short version: they are Stoner Punk Grind. Ladies and gentlemen, it is both my extreme pleasure and distinguished honour to present to you: Sylvester Staline. If you like punk, second-wave powerviolence, weed and a healthy slathering of blastbeats then look no further. If you don't then you can leave.

Right. For the adventurous who remained, you are going to love this band. Of the many things I dig about this EP, what stands out the most is the impression that it was all recorded in one take. You know what I'm talking about: an almost-live production, organic drums and a steady dose of feedback. Feedback rings in the EP, it fills the gap between songs and chimes in each channel when ever a guitar pauses. Through its sonic mesh the drummer clicks his sticks four times and another song is born. Of course, there is only one guitarist, so there were at least two sessions required to get the stereo effect. But all the songs "feel" like they were captured live, like the band packed themselves into the same room, pressed "record" and let it rip. Just based on hearing this EP I can safely assume they kick major ass live. All they need is a modicum of stage presence - the songs will do the rest.

The vocals are ejaculated rapidly in that monosyllabic powerviolence style. Think early Magrudergrind meets ManMadePredator era Leng Tch'e. So far as lyrics go, don't worry about the fact that you can only understand four words. Here is a basic primer: smoke weed, and if you don't smoke weed, fuck you. Take "Get Revolutionary" as an example:
Politicians are twats, they don't smoke weed
Police is shit, they don't smoke weed
Get revolutionary, smoke weed.

The riffs follow suit, either keeping pace with the lyrical presentation or taking the two-step approach, covering the full gamut from classic punk licks on to proper grind and all the way to fastcore. The whole set list, from front to back, is focused and energetic. It's music more commonly associated with skating, running from cops after tagging a billboard or trashing a house during a kegger. But for Sylvester Staline, it's the perfect backdrop for a bong session. Yet sadly, it's just an EP. The track list breezes by. There are stand out moments, like the beginning of "Through the Eyes of Weed," the crossover riffing of "Problems in Life," the grinding fury of "Legalize It" and the metallic crust in "Get Revolutionary." These moments are not entirely enough though. For best results I recommend listening to the EP straight through. Repeatedly.

And when you've had your fill of Sylvester Staline, let the disk spin on to track 18. Here begins FUBAR, who offer a nice contrast of style and approach - which is the whole point of splits if you haven't figured out already. Their production is a little murkier but that is essential: they have to make room for three vocal styles and a graduate of the G.C. Green School Of Bass. In 12 songs they cover all the angles of the genre, from classic punk minimalism in "Crawling" to the head-on collision of hardcore and crust in "Not Even You." The staple is loads of deep, distorted, almost out of place but fittingly just right bass. When they want to, FUBAR is as intense as anyone. But they pick and choose their moments, opting to focus their songs around the vocals. In this sense they have an old school approach to song writing. Not verse-chorus-verse but patient. I like it. FUBAR is the type of band who could open for Abscess and if the scene kids were not paying attention they would think Abscess came back and played an encore set.

I enjoyed both bands. They play the same type of music in two distinctly different ways which makes questions of who "won" the split rather meaningless. It's an apples to oranges discussion, like arguing between Exploited and Black Flag. Sure, someone is going to do it, but you know they love both bands and just want to play devil's advocate. You are formally invited to check it out. You are then strongly encouraged to buy it. I've had only good experiences with Bones Brigade. Great people.


Andrew Childers said...

niiiiice. i was about to drop some fubar of my own in about a week. don't know styline, but fubar rule like a power violence catheter.

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