Balboa / Nitro Mega Prayer Split

Keeping the violent spirit of mid-’90s screamo alive, Balboa’s tortured, driven and discordant riffs provide a dramatic opening to this seven-track split. Ultimately the heavier of the two bands, Funeral Diner’s sullen mood swings and City of Caterpillar’s caustic rage are but a couple of the influences that come to mind throughout each of their songs. Tapping the same scar-painted vein as their previous releases, their four-track contribution fails to go beyond what they’ve already accomplished, amounting to merely another addition to a small but growing catalogue. Nitro Mega Prayer’s first track begins with heartfelt, illustrious picking layered by piercing, distant screams, an effect that seems like a dire necessity come voice-cracking time. They persist with the passion of fellow countrymen Envy, adding a melancholy and sombre twist to their slower and less bombastic approach. They deliberately crescendo into feverous chaos in each song, adding a climatic element but bringing into question the depth of their composition abilities. In essence, the similarities between the two bands undermine their character in such a way that one cannot help but be mildly perturbed by the lack of distinction that characterises both. Best left to their individual efforts, this split seems like it was released more for its money saving potential than for its artistic merit. (Forge Again)