A Fucking Elephant / Arbogast Split 7″ Review

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Ohmygodohmygodohmygod… <Ahem> sorry, my inner geek just went insane. A super rare 33 1/3 RPM 7” purple vinyl copy of the split EP from A Fucking Elephant (best name ever?) and Arbogast is currently spinning on my turntable and it is like a cataclysmic mash up of everything awesome in American alternative rock. The first track, ‘Hexavalent Chromium and the stereophonic Synergism’ is like a mash-up between Fugazi, the Jesus Lizard, The Melvins and Captain Beefheart. It’s an endlessly cyclical mass of pulverizing riffs and insane percussive genius which only goes to make the coruscating, minor key riffs and eerie silences of ‘emulsion effect’ all the more mentally damaging. The aural equivalent of listening to hardcore punk in a washing machine, A fucking Elephant are sonic terrorists on a mission to strip listeners of their sanity. Mastered by Colin Marston (the genius behind the East of the Wall LP also issued via Nefarious Industries) and engineered by Brian Buccellato who, one would imagine is now sitting in a padded room forever bashing his head against the wall in time to the imaginary sound of a fucking elephant forever, this is one raw, rip-roaring little EP that demands to be heard.

In contrast to A fucking elephant, Arbogast like their punk fast, furious and delivered like a shot of napalm. ‘SPiderbite’, at a mere minute and a half, is an unhinged racket that will make your parents think a riot has kicked off in your bedroom. It’s sequel, ‘…of death’, which follows directly on without so much as drawing breath, has a pummelling central riff and sounds like Slayer on their unfairly dismissed covers LP ‘undisputed attitude’, only recorded on a boombox in a basement. Even then, Arbogast dismiss expectation by breaking into a surprisingly nimble bridge that sounds like nothing else in the song and which leaves you wondering if your overheated brain conjured the whole thing up to blank out the pain of the white hot riffs.

With split art to match the two sides of the EP (A fucking elephant, of course, have a picture of a dead chicken, Arbogast an exploding devil beast) this is a throwback to the days when nothing mattered more than getting down to the local record shop to buy the latest independent singles from labels like Sub Pop, dischord and Touch and Go in the hope of finding enlightenment and my only regret is that Nefarious industries were not around to warp my fragile little mind in my formative years. This is an unfeasibly awesome single and you owe it to your inner teenager to track this little gem down physically or digitally as soon as possible (hint – start here: http://nefariousindustries.com).

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