Pariso and Svalbard return for a release that is truly unique among hardcore splits; this is a collaborative album with both bands contributing a set of songs as well as joining forces for 2 very unique tracks that showcase a beautiful cacophony of styles that draw from the best parts of both band’s sounds.
Pariso lead the proceedings on this split and the band have decided to play in a lower tuning than usual to make their sound even more difficult to pigeonhole. Pariso make a form of progressive hardcore that brings in elements of groove metal that result in crushing breakdowns like the one featured in Underground Notes. If you can imagine Hatebreed by way of Korn and Every Time I Die you’d be in the sort of area you’d need to be in to appreciate Pariso’s incredibly unique sound.
I’ve joked in the past that Pariso are the founders of nu-grind but thanks to the band’s lower tuning this is becoming less of a joke and actually the only genre I can think that suits them perfectly, especially in regards to these recordings. The opening of Delirium also abides to this rule by featuring a relentless grindcore-esque blast-beat that only gives up to deal another punishing groove.
What Pariso are becoming very good at is interspersing their noise with some brilliant leads that actually help deliver a lot of melody. This was brought into the fold during the writing of their previous album Consanguinity and it’s great to see it used prominently in songs like Helios, The Great Demise.
Now onto Svalbard who despite having a sound rooted in hardcore are somewhat different to Pariso. Svalbard’s sound draws from punk far more heavily than Pariso’s and the no-nonsense opening of Ripped Apart delivers an awesome punk beat that soon expands into a post hardcore sound that is far more melodic in nature.
Svalbard’s music is wonderfully textured and features some absolutely soaring leads that add a sense of euphoria and positivity that’s at juxtaposition with the band’s aggressive nature. The band reminds us of gone-but-not-forgotten post rockers Rinoa but with the hardcore punk leanings of a band like Vales. It’s quite a beautiful racket.
Like Pariso before them Svalbard are another underground UK band who have absolutely nailed a sound of their own and despite their longer songs the band also manage to sound like they’re giving it their all for the entirety of their music. Grayscale is mind-bogglingly intense but it still manages to fit some glittery leads into its near 5 minute hardcore punk attack and it’s an exhausting yet brilliant post hardcore anthem.
Finally it’s important we discuss the collaborative tracks on this split. While the two songs (Floating Anchors and Faceless) clearly draw on elements from both bands’ music, it’s Pariso who seem to be making the decisions in regards to the songs’ structure. Both tracks are shorter 2 minute bursts of extremely progressive metallic hardcore with the only discernible Svalbard elements being the melodic guitar leads and the inclusion of Serena on vocals as well as Mazz.
Regardless of the fact that the amalgamation comes off more as Pariso instead of Pariso and Svalbard, this collaborative album is an incredibly special release from two very unique bands. Pariso’s heavier yet more metal-laden beginning leads into a more positive and melodic second half courtesy of Svalbard that actually feels like the album takes you on a journey through the dark and into the light. This split actually tries to break down the boundaries of the split record concept by showcasing two bands that are very much on the same page regardless of their differences in sound. This could have been a Loutallica but thankfully it’s a wholesome and focussed release that any fan of heavy music should be listening to.
Pariso and Svalbard’s split self-titled album is out now on 12″ vinyl through Tangled Talk Records.