Ruins / Usnea Split

Ruins / Usnea Split
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This is an unusual pairing for a split EP. Portland's Usnea are known for their crushingly depressive doom, laden with funeral ceremony and sepulchral weight, whereas Ruins (the German crust punks, not the experimental Japanese prog duo) prefer to express their grief as vicious, visceral rage. The split effort, composed of a single track by each band, is a productive one, allowing each group to borrow something from the other and twist it to make it their own. "Discrimen" by Ruins has an unusually restrained guitar tone and a lot more attention paid to the surging bass lines and organic drums; there is something careful, more considered about the track, a slight and grim restraint that suits them.

"Only the End of the World" by Usnea is expectedly vast and grave, but with some rough edges; the vocals, especially, are treated to some bubbling pitch and wrenching pain that gives them a slightly more dangerous edge. Usnea and Ruins tear at each other, fraying their aesthetics against each other, and the resulting raggedness is appealing. (Halo of Flies)