I love when a record has a gimmick. Svalbard and Pariso definitely have a great one going on this split release. It’s not some cheesy bullshit either. It’s that, aside from their individual songs, they recorded two songs together. Those collaborations bookend this record in a really interesting way. There are two bands with pretty different styles of playing. Hearing them mix those styles together is an interesting thing that, on paper, shouldn’t work as well as it did. But, we’ll get to that later.
Pariso is a band that leans pretty heavily on metal and hardcore. They have interesting guitar lines that play more to the former, but the heart and passion of the latter. They stay fairly true to hardcore, but aren’t afraid to totally own their metal influence. This is especially evident on “Helios, The Demise.” While tearing through as a hardcore song, they build up to a really great lead about a minute into the song. In general, Pariso plays a dissonant style of hardcore and metal. It avoids being crossover bullshit, it sure as fuck isn’t metalcore. It is delivered with anger. The vocals are guttural and growling. They are cathartic and deliberate. The four songs they have on here don’t mess around.
Svalbard, on the other hand, is a much different beast. While sharing certain things in common, they are, generally, a much faster and melodic band. They are making music that feels more rooted in punk and post-hardcore. Where Pariso went for it right out of the gates, Svalbard allows more room for the songs to grow. “Allure” is the embodiment of this. It is a song that has a 5:15 run time. It starts off quietly, with clean guitar, light drums, and vocals low in the mix. It explodes come the two minute mark. It’s that divergence in style that helps them stand out. The three songs they have on this split are really the ones I was more initially drawn to.
But, like I said earlier, my favorite part of this split would be the two songs the bands recorded together. These are two solid songs, not some jam session bullshit. The opener is a song called “Floating Anchors,” the closer is called “Faceless.” The former is more of the style of Pariso. It is more blunt and deliberate. The tempo doesn’t get too fast, and the music doesn’t get too melodic. The latter has more of a Svalbard feel, but definitely feels like more of an amalgamation. It opens with the speed of Svalbard, with the immediate zeal of Pariso. It also feature more metal inspired leads, and a hardcore breakdown. Both songs mix the sensibilities of both bands together in a very encompassing way. The next best example of this would have been that My Fictions/The Saddest Landscape collaboration on the split those bands put out last year.
Overall, this is a split that could have just been another split. It could have been a co-release of seven songs and nothing else. Those two collaborations put it over the top. It’s a hell of a record.