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Album Review: I’m the Devil and I’m OK by Split Cranium

Hardcore act Split Cranium release their debut album I’m the Devil and I’m OK on 25th May via Ipecac. Six years after their self-titled debut played out as a ferocious homage to Nordic d-beat masters like Terveet Kädet and Anti Cimex, bandmasters Aaron Turner and Jussi Lehtisalo return (alongside bassist Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders, Old Man Gloom), Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer, Mara) and Tomi Leppänen (Circle, K-X-P)).

Somehow the album manages to be simultaneously more sonically rounded and more visceral and vicious. “We wanted to make a record that was less straightforward than the first one,” Turner says of their method. “Jussi loves melody and I love dissonance and noise, so that is probably the healthy creative contrast that made this record what it is.”

Make no bones about it, this is one of the harshest and forthright hardcore albums you’ll hear this year. The bellows of Turner are unparalleled and the constant barrage of riffs and d-beat drumming are the ingredients for some serious ear bleeding. For many this will push Split Cranium into the unlistenable, it’s a fine line that the band tread – but one that pushes their sound to the limit and makes for an enthralling, if at times challenging, listen.

There’s moments where you’re tempted to think that you’re listening to something really special, such as the grinding groove of ‘Whirling Dusk’ or with the melodic counterpoint provided by Newton on ‘Wet Shadow’. While other tracks let you revel in pure hardcore reckless abandon. Forget your accessible rock, this is for the hardcore purist and those how want to be challenged. This is Split Cranium with extra levels of brutality and harmony without diminishing their speed and vitriol. This time around there’s even more punch.

AD Rating 7/10

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