4 out of 5
Label: Level Plane Records
Produced by: Mike Dixon, Adam Lazlo
Sometimes I question my music biases: do I just like X band because I heard them first? It’s certainly possible, and there’s no way to fully resolve that, but whenever I hear groups who fall into a similar spasm-y hardcore as Racebannon… god damn, it just makes me want to listen to Racebannon.
Absolutely coincidentally, this happened in the reverse order, when I listened to this compilation / split between screamo pals RCBNNN and Song of Zarathustra, and then put on an album by Endon after that. Endon’s, like, okay, but more importantly, it made me lust for more Racebannon fuck fright goodness, and celebrate how goddamn good they were.
They definitely “win” this split, though Zarathustra makes for a good time as well. I owned SoZ’s albums back in the day, and always respected how tight and enthused they were, offering a good balance of hardcore punk and thrashy screamo, played tightly, with, like, Sunny Day Real Estate asides (if Jeremy Enigk was a yelly dude), killer drums, and worthwhile lyrics. …But I also wouldn’t listen to the albums too much, because the group had the same problem a lot of hardcore punk acts have: after a few songs, you’ve mostly heard what’s up. And that’s even true on their 3-song offering here, though only just – I mean, the first two tracks are a perfect snapshot of all-out attack Zarathustra, and then slightly more post-punky, and then the third track just doesn’t have anything else to offer, but it all blazes by with head-bobbing efficiency.
Over on the ‘Bannon side, I should probably dig up my Rhonda Delight CD to verify, but… I think these are maybe just tracks off of that album? I don’t remember if the ‘Waltz Of El Diablo’ tracks (which are instrumental, noisily experimental intros / interludes) are just retitled cuts from that disc, but the Satan tracks are definitely the same, or probably-definitely the same. Ya see, for my praise of Racebannon, Rhonda Delight is the one album that I don’t revisit all that often, because it’s whole concept shtick seemed to encourage less variation in construction than their other albums, and so I tend to get bored about halfway through. But it turns out if you isolate a couple tracks like we have here, all of the group’s greatness is readily apparent, from the mad, babbling thrash of part IV to the post-hardcore breakdowns of part V.
It’s an absolutely quality split, perfect length on both sides – just enough to get into – and a great way to revisit Satan’s Kickin’ Yr Dick In material from ‘Bannon, and to get a good taste of Zarathustra’s offerings.