01. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Crypto-Zoology
02. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Werewolf Women Of The U.S.
03. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Dis-Order Of Species
04. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Un-Natual Selection
05. Insect Warfare - Human Virus Ballistic
06. Insect Warfare - Technology War
07. Insect Warfare - Corporation Life Form
08. Insect Warfare - Digital Target
09. Insect Warfare - F.T.L.
10. Insect Warfare - Deception Fortress
11. Insect Warfare - Coded Steel
2008 Relapse Records
Where does one begin when they are given just over 6 minutes of music to review over the course of 11 tracks It's certainly not the easiest task, but when its as good as this split gets it can easily stretch into an hour of repeats and multiple passes through a record that lasts as long as most post-metal bands average songs. On the Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Insect Warfare split CDep (it's priced like one for those of you worried about spending hard earned pennies on such a short album) you certainly get quality over quantity.
Now while I was a previous fan of Agoraphobic Nosebleed (indeed a HUGE fan of their work since the PCP Torpedo 6” on Hydra Head Records) they often get a lot of crap for having programmed drums and songs that are often micro-blasts of auditory shrapnel lasting less than some other bands intros. Unfortunately for those grindcore purists and technophobes, they have been missing out on some purely unrelenting music worthy of their time. As the years have gone by, the sound of ANB's programmed drums have come to sound more and more natural, often allowing one to forget that they were ever electronic at all. Additionally, the promise of Kat's vocals could add a lot to the dimensions of the band, thanks to the noticeably higher pitch of her tortured wails (although credited on this record it is unclear if she has contributed). Underpinning all of this of course is the hefty guitar work and crushing production skills of Scott Hull (also of Pig Destroyer).
Fans of grindcore should all know the name Insect Warfare like it was written in their underwear. There should really be no need for introduction as this band virtually came out of nowhere but exploded onto the extreme music scene, gaining an unmatched reputation within a short 3 years or so. Having concentrated their efforts more on overseas promotion (Earache Records is going to be re-releasing their back-catalogue now that they are defunct) they are actually an American band and although now disbanded, continue to stir the music world. Vocalist Rahi easily has one of the better and more distinct sounding voices and vocal styles within the grind world, alternating between clear almost punk/crust sarcasm and extreme throat ripping screams as the musical tone dictates. Lyrically, it is also easier to understand what IW are saying during their brief noise blasts than on the ANB side.
As a huge fan of Florian Bertmer's artwork my opinion is a little biased, but his layouts seem to jump out at you with their graphic vividness. The illustrations from ANB's side depict their "Werewolf Women Of The U.S.," the second track from their half of the split. The IW side also has some notable art too, although not as striking or memorable, it seems to bring to mind the covers of comic books from the 80's. There is no credit given to an artist for the IW side of the split, which is unfortunate as the art is solid considering the whole thing is done in black and white.
I also feel obligated to mention that this ANB stuff was recorded in 2007 and since then they have recorded and released their half of the drastically different Domestic Powerviolence split (with Apartment 213). That release showcases a much different ANB, utilizing slower, grinding moments not unlike what Hull and company tried to do with the Natasha CDep. With the coming Agorapocalypse this spring, no one really knows what to expect.
Bottom Line: This EP is an amazing showcase for both bands, and they really bring their best to the table, not relenting for a second. It's hard to determine who the stronger unit is at first. However, as I played the record a few times, something about Insect Warfare's perfect mix of brutality and slightly off-kilter humor seemed to dominate. This CDep is brief but it will grind away at the listener until you're feeling as enraged as the bands are.