(DL38) SPLNTR - Trails - Then and Now

Deadlamb Records are still at it folks, this is a blessing to all and you really should get out there and support em' - buy a CD, do a review, share their precious word. These guys were the original and only sponsors of the SAS Tour, a showcase I ran with my good mate Andy NoizeAnoize, trying to get DIY a bit more notice in the 21st Century. The label here offers up an 11 track CD from a band based in Orange County, California and after several rotations on the ever-rotating turntable I can hold my hands up and honestly say that some moments...inspire. There is no need to over-indulge before the game is afoot, I go in and take things step by step and let you pick up on my feelings.

Bang - the title track is thrown out 'Trails' is a beauty and after a roll over the skins, a guitar twinge and a smooth, reined in first verse a hint of what is to come is given via a brief stimulating sub-chorus. Textured and exhilarating the song grows in presence with all nooks and crannies free of cloying dust and polished up for you to admire. The merging of the angles comes, a succinct message is hammered home via the aforementioned sections where the band rise high and apply their trade with pertinent passion. The flare of the temperament is executed with consideration, the eye of the storm draws one in and the final swirl of spirit is not lost as our senses get blasted.

'Grind' has addictive qualities in many ways and is a smartly executed and has more going for it that one first deems possible. The gruff vocals are enthused by the reacting music that is a mere catalyst for continuous high energy that all the while has a natural flow and absorbing nature. From the shout out and bass grumble to the high frequency electro bursts, the excitement levels remain lofted and we are thrown about a melting pot of bubbling action with gusto. The band back up the initial impact made via their first tremendous song with a thoughtful and articulate second piece - lovely. 'Riot' moves up the ladder of success, wallops home a pile-driving fist of defiant musical aggression that makes one sit up and take note. From the stable and focused to the more flamboyant and weaving there is a reliable solidity racing through each and every vein of this excellent outburst and all along the way, from the bass grumble and white-light guitar strains through the opening gravelled hollers to the all-absorbing soundscape set, this is a beauty - 3 down, the foundations have been set for Album of the Year already!

'Step Back' is a fuckin' blinder, one I use, as well as the rest of the album, to don the boxing gloves and knock seven bells out of the punch-bag or anyone who gets too close (I do get carried away tha' knows). The band are on fire, they are nailing each and every song and doing so whilst exuding a prominent class that one cannot deny. This song opens up with a salvo, pummels with pace before haymaking with a quality that refuses to bob and weave but stands its ground and lets you have it in no uncertain terms. 'Chinatown' is equal to the follow-on task but comes with a more controlled culture and erudite essence emanated from a band very much on the top of their game. The heavy-duty application, sincere force and precise drive of all unified components is right in-line with my noisy ways. This is another cracker, I think the band are something quite special on the evidence given so far. 'Needle Park' scampers in, travels with lofted energy and impetus and tells a tale of a murky world where the needy are in danger, the predator’s prowl and the gunslingers are happy to fire off their frustrations. The songs skids along, slides in a bloodbath of effective presence whilst all the while being kept on its toes by the rattling tympanic energy that never abates. A firm middle-ground song as is the chaser 'Stranger Than Fiction. This slab of sound is one of the smoothest efforts and sails along in easy fashion but still has much weight within its inner core. The cooled-down tones are a subtle alteration than what has gone before and although left salivating for another high-powered burst I can see the raison d'être of this song and also appreciate it capabilities. A steady effort and one that easily keeps the interest - high!

The last 4 are upon us, 'Drive' is emotive chaos let from the leash and allowed to spit venom and tear chunks out of your inattentive arse. A 1 minute 32 second eruption of spiteful kick-back that blows a chunk from the set-pattern of the CD and nicely leaves one staggering. Fast, to the point and with guts exposed. A quite scrumptious bass drive opens 'One Two, One Two' and is soon joined by a tension-inducing vibration that really sets the soul alight. The band are foaming at the mouth, at the arse, at each and every pore - the perspired juices emanated are blood soaked, inspiring and full of fuckin' gumption. The tightness and stress-laden intensity is only relieved by a brilliant moment of free-flown melody before the heat is turned back on and a knife is held to the throat. A lovely explosion - now where's those knuckledusters? 'Automatic' is a zenith, a mere gold-tinted monolith of glorifying grandness that excites and ignites whilst moving with consummate quality through each and every discordant department. The band are on the top of their game, the switch between blue-light encouragement to an easily delivered chorus of snagging proportions is sublime, this is a latter end beauty - do not overlook it and whilst you’re at it, admire a band on their way to making for one amazing CD - ah amazing, a shitty word used by the masses and diluted in the extreme, not so here, this collection of songs are bang on. We close with 'Wonder Why', a hearty rip up full of abrasive guitar work, throbbing bassism, slap-happy sticks and vigorous gravel-splattered vocals that leave little room to put in a critical boot. The band go out with a flourish, stop, start, slam with intent and screw and swerve before crashing into that final wall of silence in fine, blazing style. The job is a fuckin' good un' folks, this has been one exciting journey, I am ecstatic.

And there, my perusing chum, is a CD done in stunning style and if the truth be known, is up there with some of the best. SPLNTR have come from nowhere and registered themselves big-time on the Fungal Richter scale - the earthquake has left many an aftershock, be prepared to get knocked off your feet.


(DL38) SPLNTR - Trails - Then and Now

This Southern California band has been around since 1992, although they were broken up for a while. I’ve never heard of them, but this sounds pretty good. Well-produced punk that doesn’t turn pop punk due to the bits of JELLO BIAFRA-like vocals. This reminds me of the GENERATORS, FANG, DECRY, and SOCIAL UNREST. Old school with some guitar licks without getting metal. (Ray Lujan)

Maximum Rock N'Roll

(DL38) SPLNTR - Trails - Then and Now

These guys seems to have a few years on the neck and therefore it may be interesting. That was interesting. Erick Armeson who sings has a voice that I think is similar to Animal in the Anti-Nowhere League and it sounds like it sounds like them but it's really not that SPLNTR sounds like ANL but they have a bit tougher sound but there's a lot touch points. It's fast and songs you feel like singing in and it's a punk rock that I like. So, these guys have no age problems of any kind and I think SPLNTR is a group I'd like to rank high. For this kind of punk rock where you do not have much space to breathe, I love. Those who do not check the group may blame you for it themselves, but I will listen to them over and over again.

De har gubbarna ser ut att ha några år på nacken och därför kan det bli intressant. Det var intressant. Erick Armeson som sjunger har en röst som jag tycker liknar Animal i Anti-Nowhere League och det gör ju att det låter lite som dem men det är verkligen inte så att SPLNTR låter som ANL utan de har ett lite hårdare sound men det finns en del beröringspunkter. Det är snabba och låtar man känner för att sjunga med i och det är en punkrock som jag gillar. Så de här gubbarna har inga ålderskrämpor av något slag och jag tycker att SPLNTR är en grupp som jag skulle vilja ranka högt. För den här typen av punkrock där man inte får mycket utrymme att andas älskar jag. Ni som inte kollar in gruppen får skylla er själva men jag kommer i alla fall att lyssna på dem om och om igen.

Skrutt Magazine 8/10

(DL38) SPLNTR - Trails - Then and Now

Orange County-Hardcore-Punk von der D.I.- (eher „State Of Shock“ als „Horse Bites, Dog Cries“), M.I.A.-, SHATTERED FAITH-Stange, der sich redlich um eine angemessene, tendenziell allerdings überproduzierte Verbeugung vor den Originalen bemüht, dabei aber eigene Akzente vermissen lässt.

Die mitunter arg theatralische Gesangsdarbietung zwischen Jello Biafra-Reminiszenz und Danzig-Breitschultrigkeit kann sich zudem als äußerst strapaziös für Menschen mit einem zartbesaiteten Nervengerüst erweisen, die ohnehin regelmäßig zu Lavendel-Badesalz und Melissentee greifen.

Die vom Label zitierte Begeisterung des Flipside Magazine von vor zig Jahren, welche die Band als Essenz aus BLACK FLAG und MINOR THREAT beschreibt, kann ich meinerseits leider nicht teilen.

Dirk Klotzbach - Wertung:6/10 - OxFanzine

Google translate...

Orange County hardcore punk from the DI (more "State Of Shock" than "Horse Bites, Dog Cries"), MIA, SHATTERED FAITH rod, who honestly strives for a reasonable, but overproduced bow to the originals , but miss your own accents.

The sometimes very harsh theatrical vocal performance between Jello Biafra reminiscence and Gdansk broad-shoulderedness can also prove extremely exhausting for people with a delicately scathed nervous skeleton, who regularly resort to lavender bath salts and lemon balm anyway.

Unfortunately, I can not share the enthusiasm of Flipside Magazine of the past few years, which the band describes as the essence of BLACK FLAG and MINOR THREAT.

Dirk Klotzbach - Rating: 6/10 - OxFanzine