Kylesa / Victims – Split (Deathwish rerelease)

3 out of 5

Label: Deathwish

Produced by: Kylesa (?); Fred Estby, Nicke Andersson, William Blackmon (recorded by)

Not the most impressive outings from either group, but definitely solid tracks, and enough listens – if you weren’t previously followers of either – starts to show off where each act might differentiate itself from their relative hardcore / punk genre peers.

Kylesa’s Pain and Suffering is a fun call-and-response bit of hardcore rock, definitely far from the more progressive leanings of later years, but still dense and catchy – which is probably the wrong term, given what’s likely intended to be weighty subject matter, bookended by some samples to establish a concept regarding perception… Nonetheless: catchy.

Victims’ first track, On Our Knees, is a blaze of thrashy 1:23 punk, but honestly probably more notable for its raw recording style than the content, the former allowing the group to go all out and making the latter’s some genericness overridden by intensity. Descend Within is a cover of an old Kylesa track, and while I appreciate the way the recording here ups the bass, which is a groove the original lacks, Victims’ style flattens out the rest and makes it somewhat repetitious, something the griding Kylesa version doesn’t suffer from.