Today’s post sees two post-crust bands duke it out for the dubious title of King of the Clearance Bin, mostly because that was the hand dealt to them by the reviled Dutch East distro who released this split in the early ‘90s. Had you come across this CD in a record store, chances are you would have passed it up without a second glance. There is no snobbery in that statement—unless you already knew who the bands were, you had no reason to bother picking it up. The packaging is as bland and generic as it gets, with no info whatsoever about either band. Nothing about this CD would have stood out compared to any one of a number of punk or metal releases of the time. For all anyone knew, Sin and Spinewrench were those two lame garage metal bands who rehearsed next door while your dad tried to watch the evening news. They were doomed for the clearance bin, perhaps to be found five years later by some bored and broke music fan.
However, you almost certainly would have snapped this split up if you were aware of the fact that both bands boasted members of some of your favorite late ‘80s crustcore bands. Sin saw ex-Misery and Nausea vocalist Al Long team up with Javier Villegas of Born Against. Rob Middleton tapped drummer Charlie from the last Deviated Instinct lineup to form Spinewrench. Perhaps we should refer to these bands as “incrustrial,” since that is essentially what they sound like. They both pick up where their previous bands left off, but filter their respective sounds through a perspective that is obviously also influenced by the likes of early Godflesh and Pitchshifter.
Sin is a bit more sludgy and drone-y in their approach. I don’t know if this was an intended effect or not, but there is something about their songs that made me feel ill at ease. Although they are usually engaging, I still found myself fidgeting my way through their four songs. Shortly after recording this split, most of Sin’s members went on to form the hatesludge outfits Cattlepress and Iabhorher. That is a story for another time, though. Spinewrench picks up the pace considerably. Their take is more straightforward in comparison, often sounding virtually identical to Deviated Instinct’s Guttural Breath LP. I imagine most listeners will probably prefer Spinewrench because they have more blood pumping through their musical veins. Then again, people seem to be really into that whole meandering drone thing, so who am I to say. Both bands are interesting to listen to regardless.
In a way, this is what I wish crust progressed to in the long term. Personally, I have had my fill of Bolt Thrower worship and could easily live the rest of my life without hearing another Deathside-meets-At the Gates “stadium crust” outfit. With a fair amount of ex-crustys getting more into the death rock/goth side of things, I think it is only a matter of time before industrial stops being a bad word and starts becoming an interesting new influence. Take a baby step in that direction here. Thanks to Evil Eye reader Matt Parillo for sending this split our way.