The Ontario emo/math rocky group Karloff and the increasingly more intense Providence-based Amitié united for a powerful mission statement of sorts testifying to the power of their collectively quite emotionally dynamic screamo on their split 5” that came out this January via both Zegema Beach Records and No Funeral Records. There are only two songs here, both of which are barely a minute long, but in a stunningly small amount of disc space these two groups have packed a stunning burst of powerful dynamics.
The Amitié song gradually builds with a catchy bass strum and gradually more intensely swirling drum rhythm until the big breakout around the 30 second point, where it feels like the gently rustling soundscape the band have constructed all of a sudden goes up in flames. They abruptly spiral into maniacally intense drumming and then devilishly sinister sounding, thick groove after that initial blast of chaos.
Really, the contrast feels quite striking. The dynamic journey that the band have packed into this song really helps its sheer intensity jump out thrillingly. There’s enough ground covered in this short track for something a lot longer than one minute and eighteen seconds — but lo and behold, here we are, with this comparatively brief but poignant blast of both chaos and its implications. And who couldn’t use the catchily intense blasts that close out this song?
The Karloff track maintains a bit more levelly grounded dynamics through its also brief runtime. There’s an incredibly catchy guitar rhythm that runs through the core of this track, and sometimes — since the group does get a bit contemplatively math rocky here — this rhythm really gets to shine all on its own. The track starts off with a frenzy before feeling a bit like the energy starts to wind down. In other words, this song feels less about the experience of running into a metaphorical wall and more about the feelings that come after. The increasingly hearty drum rhythm and more that the band pack around this song’s core really nicely amplify the experience. You get to feel as much of the adrenaline rush and comedown as possible, really.
On a meta-level, the songs fit quite well together. The raw but catchy and kind of math rocky Karloff track accents the wild emoviolence blasts of the Amitié song, and the other way around too. The EP feels like a perfect full-bodied experience of the screamo that they’ve got to offer — the ups and downs, and downs, and ups, and ups….