Release DetailsLABEL Obscene Productions
RELEASED ON 4/1/2006
En Sorglig Historia
posted on 5/2006 By:
Well damn, I sure as hell didn’t expect this. What we have here is a superbly executed display of top-notch socio-political grindcore from none other than Sweden. It’s actually rather astounding to see how much of an impressive maelstrom of disaster Splitter can create considering their relatively short spanning career. It is extremely rare to see this much maturity displayed so effectively and so precisely, but Splitter have managed to release a contender for the paramount grindcore record of the year with En Sorglig Historia (A Sad Story).
The crisp and tightly wound Studio Fredman (At The Gates, Opeth) production has that superb wall of sound approach, but there’s something amiss in the mix of frequencies that throws the album off from its possible excellence. Could be that while the guitars and vocals are brought out with an extremely lucid and defined clarity, the drums are all but neglected into a slightly muddled afterthought in the background that does a great disservice to drummer Oskar’s ability to create a driving pace that carries each song with a vicious grace. The dual attack of vocalist Fredrik’s monstrous lows and fiercely abrasive highs lend Splitter a certain intrinsic level of dynamic tension and poignant intensity that is only expounded further by the well detailed and semi intricate layering of the guitarists Niklas and Thimmy’s superb ability to play the right riff at the right time with an overall excellent detail to timing.
Splitter may not be the grittiest, or the most blisteringly schizophrenic of the grindcore lot, but what really puts them ahead of the majority of the pack is their ability to offer through finesse. Their distinct style of Swedish tragedy grind offers what most grindcore acts fail to offer, substance. Rather than the simple convoluted riff fest most albums like this descend into, En Sorglig Historia is a coherent, unified musical vision featuring a universal level of quality and devastating level of variety and contrast within and between songs that merges into one of the catchiest damn results I’ve ever heard. Songs like the compelling “Krossad” and “Tack och adjö” utilize an unprecedented amount of melodic tendencies that counter the undiluted grindcore rancor of songs like “Haveri” and the nearly death metal brutality found on numbers like “Status”. The infectious groove found on “Tidsinställd Kollaps” finds its way into every song belying a rare talent at offering truly memorable moments of grandeur. Though Splitter do diverge their style on occasion, normally their amalgam of grindcore finds itself comfortably nestled in the tendency of songs like the dark “Välfärd/Likfärd”, the particularly wrathful “Situation Stockholm Kapitel 2”, the ferocious powerful “Stackars Generation” and “Landets Blinda Undergång” to fuse their multifaceted approach into a particular lethal combination of styles. Intense doesn’t begin to describe the experience.
As per many of their releases, Obscene Productions has offered Splitter’s 2004 Stundens Chockerande Intryck demo as a bonus. It’s about 11 minutes more of Splitter, which can’t exactly be a bad thing (at the very least it’s an interesting retrospective tacked on). However, amongst a few problems, Studens Chockerande is marred with an annoyingly bad production. I’ve honestly heard half rate bootleg albums with more presence and oomph to them. Granted, there is a decent level of coherency to each instrument, but the frequencies and tones are all sorts of fucked up, seriously reducing the level of enjoyability. Also, the overall quality of the material is heavily reduced in comparison with their other work. The compositions fail to really deliver much more than an ambitious strive to break out of slightly amateurish songwriting and lackluster musicianship. My advice: Stick with their similarly impressive 2005 Vardagsangest release if you’re looking for something comparable or if you find your need for more high quality grind courtesy of Splitter insatiable, much like En Sorglig Historia, it’s one hell of a record.
En Sorglig Historia is an excellent album that easily contends with the heavy hitters of the genre in a rather equitable fashion. However, despite the top-notch songwriting and fairly distinctive delivery, musically speaking, Splitter doesn’t exactly tread any uncharted territory or exhibit a particularly unique vision separate from the direction of their music. They may not be the best band for originality so to speak, but what they do with their multifarious style is nothing short of prodigious. Though the skill level is undeniably solid, they never manage to expand the styles of grindcore they interfuse into their sound in any revolutionary way. Either way you fall on creativity v. ability, Splitter is a band that will appeal immensely to various components of the grind community and will quite expectedly manage to win a few converts with the undeniable gravity of their ability. Yet another success for Obscene Productions.
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