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Split: Premonitions of War / Benumb

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Album Review

The danger of the split EP is that one band can completely overshadow the other, and that happens in spades on the split shared by Premonitions of War and Benumb. Tracks one through four, the cuts from Premonitions of War, sound half-baked at best; a pair of seemingly tongue-in-cheek covers of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" and Albert King's Chicago blues standard "Born Under a Bad Sign" are a cute idea poorly executed. (To be fair, the opening "Written In" rides an interesting rhythm that sounds almost like a metalcore take on Bo Diddley, though they don't do much with this intriguing sound.) After this half-hearted space-filler, Benumb basically slaughter Premonitions of War with their offerings. Boiling down the basic precepts of grindcore into nine minimalist buzz bombs, most of them lasting under two minutes, Benumb are to grindcore what the famously strict Japanese noise bands are to punk, an exercise in deliberate self-limitation. That makes the two relatively "normal" (in both sound and length) tracks that much more surprising, revealing that the group are in fact capable of more straightforward metal alongside their usual experiments.

Split: Premonitions of War / Benumb, Premonitions of War
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