In sorting through the mess of split EPs I've got lying around me right now, I once again felt the need to choose a theme to make sense of it all. I've arrived at an international theme, as in the next few splits will have bands from two different countries. Having stated that, both 7"s tonight are linked by German melodic hardcore workhorses, Inner Conflict. When I first heard this band's second LP, I wanted to dislike them due to their "processed" vocal sound and the fact that they played with a drum machine. But the driving riffs and melodies were too much for my sanctimonious knees, and an inevitable collapse took place, followed by a surrender. The usual adjectives-- energetic, catchy-- associated with bands of this style are ever so appropriate here. This first installment sees the band paired up with a Finnish band whom I liked a great deal; then they recruited vocalist, Arja, and it morphed into a love affair! Juggling Jugulars has got to be one of the most explosive and distinctive bands in Europe today, and they only seem to get better with each release. This time around they treat us to four tracks so charged and ornery, you'll never get a chance to nail them to any one genre within the punk (dis)order. Each band also covers a track from the other's back catalog, thus solidly rounding out an already rock hard piece of wax.
Inner Conflict's Spanish friends on this next split hopefully need no introduction. For me, Sin Dios have been an intermittent crutch, anchor, and a slap in the face for many years and will continue to be even though they are long deceased (as a band). "El Poder Mundial" is sadly only two short jabs, displaying the band's fighting spirit even as it was sinking to its knees. If you've heard the other splits and the last CD the band put out, the tracks are along those lines. While I regard "Ingobernables" as Sin Dios' pinnacle, the material just afterward was still better than most punk or hardcore out there. As mentioned above, Inner Conflict take side B honors with two of their best tracks. "Down" follows the band's usually style, mixing faster hardcore tempos with slower, more anthemic moments. But it's "Scene" that has stuck with me since first hearing their side. It's easily their most fist-pumping, gritty anthem, holstering their melodic weapons, and reaching for the switchblade instead. Both sides go by way too fast, but hopefully the other 7" will offset this disappointment.
Both splits here
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