Split releases are a good way for bands to put something out at half the cost, and it’s always important as you might guess to get the right balance between the two bands’ music right for the listener. There are always going to be complaints with a split release from Napalm Death and Lady Ga Ga I suppose…that’s similarities being stretched a bit far in that they both have long hair. In this case though, it looks a good fit, with two bands well matched here and potentially able to pick up a few more followers with the resulting two tracks each.
Black Dots from Denver lead us by the hand into the deep dark forest, with pounding drums and twanging guitars not knowing what’s ahead. Bittersweet Though Mostly Bitter picks the pace right up with some rhythmic drumming and a crescendo of guitars, spinning and tumbling through the song with lyrics at a pace you can still sing along to. You don’t have long to wait for the second offering: Diets for the Dying is another track with heavy beating drums and bass constantly in the forefront of the track. To continue with the forest metaphor, there is a lull in the song on a couple of occasions; however the bass keeps the track bounding along before the trees clear, the sky opens and the song is uplifted once again with harmonious vocals to the end.
An unusual name for a band unless you’re of the long toothed variety, Gentlemen Prefer Blood are a three-piece from Los Angeles who are by no means newcomers, with ex members of Big In Japan, The Gain and American Lies. Here we have the vocal right up-front and in your face. The first track, Everybody’s Got One, has the driving style of traditional US punk rock all the way through. It has the melodic harmonies of those early songs over crashing cymbals and pumping bass, before it’s stripped back to the bone with an isolated vocal spilling out its words. A very abrupt ending takes you by surprise, before Stretch Remedy kicks your arse again from the first rabid chords that introduce us to the last track. The chords are flying back and forward slicing through those melodic verses in a hail of beats and cymbals, USA punk rock as it should be sung.
These could easily please an audience supporting each other’s gigs, they most definitely please a listening audience with this four track EP. Its no-nonsense approach cuts back the skin to reveal the raw untainted talent both The Black Dots and Gentlemen Prefer Blood have without losing the fast paced tunes and melody that are prominant in all four tracks.