Demos 2002&2004

rating icon 6 / 10

Track listing:

01. She's Strychnine
02. The Girl Nextdoor Is Always Screaming
03. The Bud Dwyer Effect
04. Warm Blooded
05. Bulletproof Scales

More a collector's item than a release, this split EP pulls together five impressive demo tracks from two of Canada's meanest exports on one cool-looking clear CD. All five songs (the first three from pummeling tech-grind maniacs ION DISSONANCE, the last two from the more death-inflected, no less vicious, DESPISED ICON) have been re-recorded since the demos and released on the bands' respective albums. So what's the point, really? Then again, if you've ever seen hardcore kids poring through bins of seven-inch singles at a record store, agonizing over hand-numbered sleeves or swirl vinyl and mentally calculating the eBay return on their investment, that question answers itself quickly.

The split does make a good sampler for new initiates to either band. ION DISSONANCE especially impress here, managing to retain pure meanness amid maddening technical parts and occasional flashes of Digiorgio-like bass brilliance. DESPISED ICON dishes out hammering blasts with a bit more influence from the DEEDS OF FLESH school of under-the-radar deathgrind, never losing their hardcore breakdowns, and even busting out the indecipherable pig-squeal gore-grind vocal now and then. Both bands are stop-on-a-dime precise kill squads operating on a wholly different, much bloodier battlefield than the "metalcore" you're thinking of, which is probably why both have been snatched up by larger labels impressed with the purity and rage of their grinding anthems.

But with the full-lengths from both of these bands — containing these tracks, re-recorded — readily available, "Demos 2002&2004" slots itself firmly in "trinket" category. It's for the diehards, and for those who'd doubtless prefer it as a gatefold double-seven-inch packaged with a baggie of the bands' toenail clippings, or something. Galy is an awesome label worth your interest and support, but this release will be useless to most of the world. An arguable 8, musically.

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