Split Cranium Split Cranium

Split Cranium are an anomaly. Like hardcore during its formative years, their music is far more punk than the metal-inflected hardcore of the present, but the vocals are firmly rooted in the latter. Similarly surprising, and potentially divisive for fans of Isis, is the radical change in direction for Aaron Turner from the post-metal of his former band to the simple music contained on Split Cranium. Though "Retrace the Circle" sounds more progressive, akin to Isis, replete with droning backing vocals and building distortion, the rest of the songs gallop along to the d-beat of the Dis-Motörhead horse. Even brief departures from their crusty punk backing, as in the Southern rock-influenced middle section of "Blossoms from Boils," don't warrant classifying Split Cranium as avant-garde. Musically, this might not be post-anything, but it is a postscript to an already impressive musical résumé that now includes punk as work experience and, more importantly, a skill. (Hydra Head)