Split / Cross – Rise Of Discontent Review

“Okay, it’s about time to retire this Network soundbite…”

Truthfully, that’s the first thing that pops into my mind when Rise Of Discontent starts rolling. Howard Beale’s impassioned break from television news’ usual decorum has graced quite a few albums already, from grindcore to J.Lo, a go-to sociopolitical outburst. But of course, with every passing year, the satirical vision that Sidney Lumet put forth in Network becomes more and more a frightening, saddening, maddening reality, so…

Maybe it’s not quite time to retire this Network soundbite, after all.

Release date: January 31, 2019. Label: self-released
And if nothing else, Pennsylvanian crusty hardcore trio Split / Cross uses it effectively, dividing it up across the entire three minutes of opening track “Blindspot,” utilizing it not only as a scene-setter, but as color within the track and as its own closure, as well. Surrounding Finch-as-Beale’s mad-as-hell-ness is some simple crust-metal riffing that veers between punk-ish drive and doomy lurch, direct and to the point, if never particularly innovative. Vocalist / bassist Kasey Harrison has a formidable low roar, and drummer Matt Bear is capable of keeping energy built up, even when the tempo drops to a trudge. Guitarist Paul Folk has a stout tone and delivers straight-forward and those bullshit-free riffs, with zero notes wasted and nothing out of place.

Across these 8 songs in 22 minutes, Split / Cross sticks to their thick, tar-coated crust style, balancing the gnarly punch of modern d-beat-driven hardcore and that heavier-than-thou ugliness of sludge, touching against grind but never fully committing to the realm of blasting chaos. It’s not the most original array of influences, but Rise Of Discontent is passionate, if nothing else, and delivered with a simple and unshakeable intensity that means it’s an enjoyable mix, even as it’s exactly the sum of its parts.


Therein lies perhaps my only real criticism of Rise Of Discontent: It’s crust-doom that’s been distilled down to the basics, with no frills and no extraneous flair, but it’s also then fitted exactly within the template for the style. Split / Cross has made a fine album, no doubt; they operate well within the framework they’ve established, and though I certainly have no right to suggest that they deviate from their path, there is unquestionably room within their approach for some greater innovation, some growth, some further exploration of hardcore-sludge-doom that might help them break away from the low-rumbling, pachyderm-paced punk-metal pack more than Rise Of Discontent does.

Still, well within the box or not, this one’s a fun listen and a promising start…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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