One of the most important labels in europe today is relatively new label from Paris, France, that concetrates on releasing only perfection in all of the aspects of their releases. One man operation is run by my man, TONR, vocalist of the infamous heavy hardcore hitters, Providence. Now with his label, he also known to the world as: Knives Out Records. I’m going to conduct an interview with him in near future, where we will get more in depth about the whole label, art and it’s future, but now i’m going to concentrate on the newest “knife”, this offering is known as; Sworn Vengeance / St. Hood – Primeval Split 10″.
I was very stoked about hearing that this release was in the works, since St. Hood is one of the best Finnish hardcore bands ever for me and i’ve followed Sworn Vengeance for many years, not to mention that they did pretty impressive comeback with their new cd/lp, …And With This Hammer Of Vengeance. It’s pretty cool thing too, that these both bands are well known in their local scenes, but not that big outside their own countries. Primeval split 10″ has a theme of “bridging the ocean”, this split and Providence / Hoods – Aces Split 7″ both share the same idea of bringing two distant bands & countries together. If you aren’t yet familiar of the concept that Knives Out Records has, you should know that the releases they put out are aiming to be nothing but exraordinary, in every sense of the word, all details have been perfected to match the quality. Knives Out -releases are put out high quality heavy picture vinyl and varying regarding the release, they have few different sleeve styles available. Mostly presented as “classic”, “pre-order” and “deluxe” -editions, these are meant to be highly collectible records, but still maintaining pricing very reasonable and pressings, that do not run out instantly. My copy of the record is one of deluxe version, that features different sleeve than classic and pre-order versions. You can see below how the sleeve has been cutted to fit into bat and ape skulls. Artwork is something Knives Out obviously take very seriously, so as Tonr works a lot of it himself, he has brought in excellent artists too to match the dedication he is putting to this slabs of wax. Some of the artists that have been working with Knives Out are Matt Worthey (Suicide Kings “Crown Of Thorns” 12″), Dave Quiggle (Providence / Hoods “Aces” Split 7″) and on Primeval Justin Kamerer, all of these guys might ring a bell, if you wear band shirts like most of us do. To add, of course these records are hand numbered and there is digital download card featured with the vinyl.
I could go on lot longer about how awesome this release is only on based on it’s art, but i’ll let the photos talk instead of blabbing more about that. Music wise both, Sworn Vengeance and St. Hood offer up two tracks and a cover song each. If somehow Sworn Vengeance doesn’t ring a bell, brief recap for all you who are not familiar. Based in San Fransisco, Sworn Vengeance started back in 1998 , they came together when their old band Downshift changed it’s name, reason for that was simple, they wanted to play different style of music, notably very much heavier. Putting out several releases such as; My Friend The Violence demo (that was later released also properly on cd as a demo compilation), Abaddon cd and Domination cd, they made name for themselves and became known for their vicious and punishing metallic hardcore. They disbanded in 2002, but next year put out only digital release for their unfinished and released album; The Outstretched Arms Of Damnation. By the way, their bass player at the time, Carl Schwartz went on to form First Blood. First talk about reunion emerged in 2010, but it took few more years for them to come together, as in 2013 they went to studio to record …And With This Hammer Of Vengeance, it was released early 2014 in europe by Goodlife Records (cd) and in USA by Escapist Records (lp). They never lost their grip, since the new record is equally pummeling showcase of fierce heaviness, as their classic record, Domination is.
Primeval kicks in with a new Sworn Vengeance jam, Killers Of Gods , traditional metallic mayhem, that represents beautifully, what this band is about. Another one of their originals is a new rendition of old classic, Unresolved Issues Of Rage, that you might have heard on Abaddon cd or The Blood & The Chaos 7″. As both bands on the split have a cover song, Sworn Vengeance is putting their mark on Rage Against The Machine‘s classic track, Bulls On Parade and as everyone can make their own mind, if they dig it or not, in their defense i need to say, that they make the cover sound very their own styled one. If this sounds good, i strongly recommend to pick the new cd/lp i mentioned, it’s pretty fucking hard stuff and if you can find any of their older records, all those too are a must have for any self respecting hardcore fanatic.
On the other side waiting is St. Hood, who are one of the finest and most respected bands, that Finland has to offer. Coming a good way since their demo back in 2004, St. Hood have dropped two full-lengths since then and appeared on few compilations. All material on Primeval 10″ is brand new shit and it’s the first time they release new stuff after 2009 release, their second full-length, For The Dead on Combat Rock Records. The Same One is delivering just what you might think, groovy hardcore, that doesn’t lack any of heaviness either. It’s also a kick into the teeth for all the doubters and disbelievers, who might have critized the band by any reason, St. Hood is coming strong with and they sound more determined than ever. Their other new track Let It All Out works out as great as the first, dropping driving riffs, that are combined into mid-tempo heavy groove, but don’t lack some melody in the verse, it’s just what you want to hear from these guys, solid stuff from start to finish. These both songs are really good and i just can’t wait to hear how their next lp would sound. St. Hood perfected their style of straight forward hardcore, mixed with heavy metal elements on very “street” level on their second album and these songs are very logical continuum of that, so let’s hope they don’t make us wait for so long ’till they put out something new. Aside being always really great band on record, they are excellent live and they are also very versatile when it comes to picking cover songs, as in the past they have played bands such as; Life Of Agony, Fury Of Five and Mötley Crüe. Now they continue that varying line with Beastie Boys‘s Gratitude and as did Sworn Vengeance, they make this cover sound like their own, very effectively.
I sincerely hope that this split release will turn heads in the USA towards cold shores of Finland and vice versa (even the US shore’s can’t be THAT cold, like here). In the end, Primeval split is amazing work of art and this kind of devotion to the medium of picture vinyl is nothing but admirable. I hope you enjoy Sworn Vengeance and St. Hood, support hardcore and independent labels, buy the records you enjoy and support bands by going to shows and buying their merch. Most of the Knives Out Records -releases are available through their website, that you can access below. Now, put them fucking jams on and wreck your room!