Wojczech / Krupskaya Split Review

I’ve had my ear on Germany’s Wojczech since their 2005 full-length Sedimente. That one hit the right spot for me back then, with its crust-fueled riffing, grindcore dissonance, balance of punk drive and outright blasting, and a loose, spacious production that didn’t suffocate the song or the listener. Follow-up Pulsus Letalis came in 2010, and it shared much of the same approach, but with more adventurous riffing, and to a good result, if perhaps not one as immediately fun as Sedimente. Since then, they’re released one split with Attack Of The Mad Axeman and a live album – neither of which I’ve heard – and otherwise remained quiet.

Conversely, I’ve had very little experience with the UK’s Krupskaya, despite their having released two full-lengths and the requisite spate of splits in their thirteen years of existence. Their particular brand of grindcore is heavily noisy, built of chaotic blasting, open and ugly dissonant chord voicings, and rapid-fire high-pitched vocals. These four tunes are strong, vicious, frantic, and they’re more than enough to push me further into Krupskaya’s discography.

According to Krupskaya’s website, this split has been in the works in some form or fashion since 2008, only now finally released into the wild. I’m not sure then when the material was written or recorded, but the Wojczech portion feels like it would fit between Sedimente and Pulsus, regardless of when it was actually created. The riffing on all three tunes is pretty straightforward – the occasional clanging noisy chord against some crusty death-infected bits – sections groove amidst the blasting, most notably a down-shift into an almost black-ish feel in the center of “Stundes des Wolfes” that then later down-shifts further into a doomy trudge at the fade. All three tracks are respectable, certainly of good quality, but I’m not certain that any unseat the material on Sedimente or even Pulsus at the top of Wojczech’s catalog. The production is raw without being ragged, and it’s a little muted and soft, where a punchier edge might’ve helped matters more.

Release date: October 27, 2017.
Label: 7 Degrees Records.
The Krupskaya side of the split fares a little better, blessed with a sharper, harsher, noisier sound, but still spacious and allowing the songs to breathe without being strangled by a wall of sound. Four songs in thirteen minutes is damned near epic by typical grindcore standards, but nearly six minutes of that is comprised of opening track “Frozen Bodies Against The Wire.” (A final four minutes comes in the last track, “Skin Of The Cruciform To Ash,” with the other two tracks clocking in at around a minute.) A droning vocal sample sits atop a sluggish riff to start, before the whole of it explodes into an inhumanly fast blastbeat and the clanging arpeggios that Krupskaya loves to pepper throughout their riffs. It’s an effective package, for sure, and topped off with the Jon Chang-esque shrieks of vocalist Alex and a haunting chanted background vocal, it’s the strongest track on either side of the wax. The following three tracks follow the same basic template, and to good result, if perhaps not as good as “Frozen Bodies,” though “Theosophical Separation Of Earth” comes close.

All told, this split is a strong little slab of underground grindcore. Wojczech is always worth a listen, even if these three tunes aren’t their strongest, and Krupskaya places themselves squarely on my radar moving forward. Any listener interested in noisy, crusty screaming and blasting should certainly find a chaos to enjoy here, particularly in the back half.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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