Premonitions Of War/Benumb Split

One of the vastly underrated metallic hardcore groups of today, Ohio’s Premonitions Of War — tongue planted firmly in cheek — drop two new tracks and two covers on this split release, their first recording with new vocalist Nate Johnson (formerly of Deadwater Drowning). Far more diverse and unpredictable than their contemporaries, the new material features an increased helping of death metal than on previous outings, shifting effortlessly from disorienting, off time blasts to Southern-tinged breakdowns that pack roughly the same punch as a wrecking ball crashing into the Trustkill Records offices at the speed of sound. I’m not kidding, this band is heavy. In contrast, the covers are a deliberate laugh riot — their note-for-note replication of blues classic "Born Under A Bad Sign,” complete with oddly tuneful cookie monster vocals, puts Six Feet Under’s numerous attempts at similarly ironic interpretations to shame. Coming after such a powerful sucker punch, Benumb’s politically charged grindcore seems a little flat and uninspired, but genre buffs will likely not be disappointed. Here’s to hoping the promise shown on this all-too-brief offering is fully realised on POW’s upcoming full length. (Thorp!)