Split EP

The Complicators / Empire Down

Pirates Press Records, 2018


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A double A-side 7” EP with two quickly rising outfits in the hardcore punk scene, Split finds San Francisco based The Complicators palling up with their real life buddies the Midwest's Empire Down for a raging, anthemic good time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Side A brings us The Complicators, who have already turned heads with their recent self-titled EP. Here they return with their furious Oi!, streetpunk, and hardcore sounds. “Too Old” begins their side with rumbling bass and swift percussion before the bouncing melodies and gravelly vocals come in. A tune about getting older and not really caring, it's a quick burst of punk rock energy. “Big Problems” follows with an anthemic quality and gang vocals in a song about remaining true to your convictions.

Side AA brings us Empire Down, whose members reside in both Milwaukee and Minneapolis and who are more on the melodic side of punk, though French Oi! and American hardcore influences aren't too far off from their formula. They start out their portion with “True Believers,” where giant, in-your-face vocals are punctuated by a punchy rhythm section and an abrasive yet tuneful quality. “Always Down, Never Out” is on deck with a charged, fist-pumping rocker where gang vocals are used strategically and some mini guitar solos make this an ideal way to end the quick listen.

As per usual with the Pirates Press Record Label, the packaging is just as fantastic as the music. A one-of-a-kind cover, there's a black and white silkscreened clear plastic outer jacket that gives the hands on both sides a 3D feel, as they sit over the respective maps on each side (one of San Francisco, one of Minneapolis), which is actually what the record sits in. Designed by the bassist of The Complicators, Sean Smith, it's a very creative idea and will certainly sate the appetite of collector nerds.

Rating: A-

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