Plebeian Grandstand & Cortez - Split

2 songs
24:00 minutes
***** ***

Plebeian Grandstand page / Cortez page

Split albums have always worked best on vinyl, as this format just seems fairer towards the two participating artists. In this case we get one song each by Plebeian Grandstand from France and Cortez from Switzerland. Even though this is released on a 10-inch record, the band decided to each deliver a track exactly twelve (and not ten!) minutes long.

Let’s start with Plebeian Grandstand from Toulouse. Founded in 2005, the quartet states its purpose as playing intense music. And of this they give their audience a good impression on their monster track titled I.W.W.O.Y.T.W.Y.W.O.M. The song starts in an excruciatingly sludgy way, with the first minutes taken up by a distorted guitar chord sequence. When the other musicians and the vocalist join in, it develops a certain doom atmosphere, although closer to bands like Sunn 0))) and Khanate than Saint Vitus and Candlemass. Once it has reached halftime, the song speeds up, becomes more dynamic and heads into an old-schooley screamo direction, although it never is truly fast. All in all this is quite an excellent demonstration that extreme musical genres can quite well survive over the distance of a long track.

The flipside belongs to Swiss noise core band Cortez who haven’t released music since 2005, coincidentally the year Plebeian Grandstand was founded. Their twelve minute epic is titled A.F.D.N.T.E.D.E.V.L.S. (we begin to see a pattern!) and starts with one minute of electronic effects before the sonic onslaught begins. Cortez don’t have a bass player, but it doesn’t really disturb. Their music is less doomy, instead the band opts for all-out-war fierceness with a strong chaos core / screamo touch. It definitely shows that this band started a long way ago, as their influences seem quite different from those of more contemporary bands. I dare say that their track is as good as the one on their flipside, but their songwriting doesn’t seem as seamless. Two or three times I actually got the impression as if a totally new song was starting, so that one is left with the impression that this is more like a stringing together of different song ideas than a regular long track.

Apart from that though, I really like the idea of making a conceptual split vinyl release. Fans of quality chaos / noise / screamo / doom / sludge music will find a regular treat here: two epic tracks that are clearly rooted in the underground, never suffering from the curse of an overly polished production. Let’s hope that we’ll here more of these bands soon.

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