- Sole Fermenting (Sanhedrin)
- Mourning the Light (Maranatha)
- I Never Knew You (Maranatha)
Think back with me for a moment. Think very hard back to a time when heavy music was more than backwards hats, mesh shorts, breakdowns, and clean vocals. If this is an era of heavy music that sounds familiar to you or brings to mind a place you have only previously dreamed of, Sanhedrin and Maranatha are two bands you will most likely love to add to your music library.
The first thing you will notice upon clicking the play button for the record is the DIY, basement recording sound. Static is present, feedback runs free, and vocals are piercing and raw. This may sound unappealing to some, but this my friends is the definition of hardcore and is sure to make many people giddy.
Sanhedrin is the solo project and brain-child of Steven Cosand, current guitarist of Overcome and writer here at IVM. In the first track , Sole Fermenting, Sanhedrin unleashes its’ own brand of raw, dark, and sludgy hardcore. This song is about regret and guilt towards past mistakes made in mistreating women and the consequences they have had. Since the song is so personal to the writer, the raw passion and anger flows as Cosand howls, “I’ve abused, misused, and grown old with time/Taken refuge in the arms of ill remedy”. While this song is mostly a slow brooding jam, at about the 5:30 mark after the speech from Reverend Saviour, the band mixes things up with an interesting instrumental, which transitions things into a circle pit inducing frenzy. Cosand ends the song spine tinglingly growling, “Who am I?/Taken/Break the Body/Mold me into new form”
Maranatha contrasts Sanhedrin nicely as they relentlessly discharge blisteringly fast, unashamedly heavy hardcore that instantly brings to mind Entombed and Advent. For the longest time I have wanted a heavy band to do a concept about the book of Ecclesiastes, so needless to say when I heard the opening lines of “Meaningless/ Meaningless/ Everything is meaningless” tormentingly roared, I couldn’t help but instantly get sucked into the music. Mourning the Light keeps a breakneck pace with a cutthroat fury until the end of the song as Collin Simula repeatedly screams “No Faith! / No Hope!”. I Never Knew You starts of with a droning, sludgy intro before giving way to a barrage of blast beats and vigorously strummed guitars. After the speed ends all too abruptly, the band goes back to the thick as mud riff played during the intro while Simula pleads, “If this is the future, or if this is the end/ Father, have mercy on us all”.
This genre is a hard one for me to rate or find flaws in because, quite frankly, the flaws are imperfection are one of the things this genre thrives on. With that being said though, I do a few minor things that nagged at me as I listened. I found myself wishing that Maranatha would have played around with song structure a little more, as it seemed like in both of their songs they would just go back and forth between two or so parts. I feel like adding more musical content would add more depth into the songs. As for Sanhedrin, I would have really liked to see a little bit less of a focus on the instrumental sections. While I loved the murky opening tones of Sole Fermenting and the equally appealing instrumental section at the 5:30 mark, I felt that the play time of both jams could have been cut down some due to me finding myself becoming bored in the middle of them.
Overall: If you are a fan of old hardcore and have been wanting to find something new to sink your teeth into, this record from Sanhedrin and Maranatha should be the perfect record to wet your appetite. With only a few minor issues I ran into, this split is sure to be an underground favorite this year.
RIYL: Advent, Overcome, Entombed