split, this joint release from Black Pus and Oozing Wound, has its origins from a May 2013 show at Chicago’s legendary Empty Bottle venue where the two acts shared what must have been an incredibly noisy bill. It turned out that the pair of noise-mongers were in fact kindred spirits and they set about trying to find a way to work together. Sadly, we don’t have an eardrum-bothering supergroup on our hands, but what we do have is a limited edition, vinyl-only slice of mayhem.
What can you say about Black Pus and Brian Chippendale? He’s lost none of the drumming skill or adventuring spirit that made Lightning Bolt one of the most incredible live acts you’re likely to see, so the two tracks he contributes here sound exactly as you’d expect them to. Powered by his legendary drumming that sounds like a house and all its contents falling down the stairs, “Blood Will Run” has percussion that’s so loud and untreated that it becomes almost permanently distorted throughout. What isn’t distorted is Chippendale’s vocals; famed for singing into a microphone taped to his face during his time in Lightning Bolt, it’s the first time his voice has really been heard untreated, and he’s saved it to sing of the shocking death of Jordan Davis who was shot by Michael Dunn over an argument about the volume of music coming from a car he was a passenger in.
“Total Eclipse” is an incredible fourteen minutes of Chippendale’s non-stop powerhouse drumming and nonsense vocals that’s shrouded in noise; his metallic rattling sounds like it’s been recorded during a hurricane and all sorts of noises come and go during the running time. It’s genius (or the work of a madman, you decide) and you can’t deny the unrelenting fascinating brilliance of it all.
It’s the young Chicago upstarts who win the day though, with three tracks that better what the band gave us on Retrash. The ‘Wound are louder, sleeker in a way without losing what made them so charming in the first place. So we still have a barrage of tight-as-fuck drumming that would make Chippendale proud, riffs that beg to be headbanged to with horns aloft and those ridiculous levels of feedback that rather than grate, are fast becoming Oozing Wound’s trademark. “Ganja Gremlin’ starts with some screamed vocals from Zack Weil but those eventually drop away to be replaced with crunch-after-crunch of seesawing riffage: it takes Retrash’s template and refines (if you could ever call these dudes “refined”) it through adding a little bit of a groove, the sort you’d find on a stoner rock record.
“Aging Punk” begins as thrash metal and stays head-down for the most part, once again dispensing with choruses before an extended outro that finds Weil improvising a barrage of false endings with his axe, but he saves the best for last; “All Things Must Pass Out” mixes showy soloing, absolutely brutal sludgy riffs, throat-ripping vocals from Weil and stunning drumming from Kyle Reynolds. It fully encapsulates the band’s modus operandi: “loud fucking guitars and screaming and shit”. It’s pretty obvious Oozing Wound have upped their game, and they should think about recording all their new songs following four hour jam sessions - one can only hope these three tracks are a taster of what to expect from their album later this year.
If you like noise, and fun, then this is definitely for you. split is a beautiful mess of a record, and we can only hope that these two will decide to wreak more havoc together at some point in the future.