Kehlvin / Fleshworld – ‘To Deny Everything That’s Mundane’ EP Review

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Split records often offer up the best experience for all concerned. For artists and labels, it is a wonderful way to release music to a wide audience at a lower cost and for fans it is often a chance to experience at least one unfamiliar band. However, this particular split, courtesy of noise rock artists Kehlvin and Polish sludge lords Fleshworld, is unique because the bands have collaborated together to tell a single story based on the life of a famous mathematician. The album weaves between the two bands, rather than offering them separate sides (yes, it’s available on gorgeous white vinyl) and the music is collaborative rather than vying for attention with the result that this release offers more than your average split. Released via Division records, ‘to deny everything that’s mundane’ is an album that sonic explorers will want to hunt down.

Of the two acts it is Kehlvin, the more visceral of the two, that open proceedings with the full-tilt battering of ‘prospective and growth’. Recalling those long-lost masters of the genre, Botch, it is a mighty opening that is entirely comfortable slipping from explosive riffs to shimmering post-rock and jazzy drumming without ever losing coherence. The album takes a slower turn with ‘Moire’, a thirteen minute long exploration of the worlds of sludge and post-rock by Fleshworld. A track that opens amidst a hail storm of distortion and then moves through the darkly aggressive world of Neurosis towards a more sinister, ambient sound that is located deep within the realm of post rock. It is a charismatic track that never loses the listener despite its length and the band do a good job of keeping the music both claustrophobic and psychedelic with throbbing bass and silken guitar slowly encompassing the listener. It is up to Kehlvin to destroy the somnambulant mood that has developed, and this they do with ‘fistful of coins’, a track that emerges as if from a great distance only to suddenly rear above you, a cataclysmic pairing of scything riffs and guttural screams that degenerates into a mechanistic horror that stalks your dreams. It is, quite literally, awesome.

With Kehlvin having done their level best to invade your insanity, Fleshworld reappear in particularly unforgiving mood. ‘Wrecking constructs’, as the name suggests, is a song of destructive propensities and Fleshworld eschew the subtlety of ‘Moire’ for a full-blooded aural assault filled with discordant guitars, skull-flattening percussion and unholy roars. It’s a song that builds from its initially ferocious assault into something that is both devastatingly heavy and yet mesmerizing at the same time and it neatly leads us towards the title track which sees Kehlvin returning to the fray for one last savage blow to the cranium. The guitars here are less savagely distorted and the sound lighter, but for all that the song remains a brutal finale that sees the album end on a blistering high.

I’ve encountered many split EPS, but never one so wonderfully cohesive as this where the bands involved forge so symbiotic a relationship in order to deliver one conceptual piece. The bands have their own unique identities, but the styles are complementary and the result is an album that offers a coherent musical journey for the listener. Despite what must have been a temptation to expand upon the release, quality rather than quantity was clearly the watchword here and the five tracks that make up this thirty-five minute release are well-honed pieces that, together, leave the listener wanting more from both bands. An intelligent, dark and consistently interesting trip, ‘to deny everything that’s mundane’ comes highly recommended to any who like their sonic exploration to be both heavy and atmospheric at the same time.

Find out more at www.divisionrecords.com

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