A split 7” used to be the way to discover new music. Split records such as the legendary Nirvana/Jesus Lizard disc or the Mudhoney/Sonic Youth were classic ways for fans of the emergent punk/grunge/art-rock wave from the US to check out a couple of unfamiliar names at the same time. Here we have a split from two retro-styled bands who are heavily into ingesting huge quantities of a certain herb if their music is anything to go by and neither side disappoints.
First up is Stone Axe who provide the distinctly Led Zeppelin (filtered through a mid-tempo Iron Maiden plod) sounding ‘metal Damage’ (an inspired title if ever there was one). It’s a relatively short track, but it is pure old-school metal sung with passion and conviction (the singer is somewhere between Robert Plant and Rob Halford) and played with a power that is sadly rare these days. Throw in a decent solo and what you have is a four minute track (well, 3.41 for pedants) that will leave you lusting for more if an ounce of rock and roll spirit throbs in your veins.
The opposite side (which comes with spectacularly lurid artwork) sees the equally fantastically titled ‘don’t panic, it’s organic’ by Mighty High kicking off a stoned punk squall that sounds like Queens of the Stone Age playing Rancid Covers (indeed the singer sounds suspiciously similar to Tim Armstrong) but with a production that Josh Homme frequently aims for but never quite attains (try playing this against the excellent, but weedy-sounding ‘Regular John’ and you’ll see what I mean).
While I personally prefer the more stately ‘Metal damage’ both tracks are well worth your time and money and it’s hard to imagine rock fans not wanting to track down at least one of the albums by these fantastic bands. Either way with two bands of this quality on one release this is something of a must-have.