Four new Loma Prieta songs. That was all I could think of when I heard the announcement of this 7″ split EP. Not that I don‘t care for the Italian screamo delegates from Raein, who delivered a wonderful comeback in 2011 with the twinkling Sulla linea d‘orizzonte tra questa mia vita e que, but Loma Prieta’s last LP I.V. was arguably one of the best screamo records of the last few years, and their level of consistency in delivering high quality hardcore frenzy has yet to drop.
Consisting of four songs playing under five minutes, the Loma Prieta side is expectedly harsh and merciless in tone, ripping through d-beats and frantic breaks with a heavy, noisy distortion that goes straight for your guts. As the omnipresent feedback of raped amps blends the whole thing together, the first three songs create one masterful exercise of scattered emotional outbursts that are tied together by this dynamic clusterfuck that is Loma Prieta‘s understanding of songwriting. Whether it‘s the ever-changing rhythmical havoc, the evil as fuck bass lines or the abuse of the probably totally innocent snare drum that sets the note for the vocal duo to go batshit, the result is the same: Masterfully crafted, beautiful yet disturbing screamo that is currently without equal.
Raein, on the other hand, has only one song to offer – a track which ranges somewhere on the other side of the genre spectrum with its distant vocals shouted in unison over straight chords and a simple but effective main riff that makes for a good hook in each of the verses. When the song is about halfway through, however, it recedes into an anti-climatic, arpeggio-driven outro that somehow buries the energy of the first half and concludes the song rather abruptly – certainly not as satisfying as Loma Prieta’s side.
To be fair, Raein‘s half is merely just a teaser for what maybe comes next in terms of new outputs, as their song “Love and Death” is definitely a piece that would work better in an album context, whereas Loma Prieta just pursues their gritty path through the somber and cruel spheres of the screamo genre. Although they almost completely ditched their more melodic edge and opted for the full dose of raging hardcore on this one, this release should definitely not be overlooked, by screamo fans and dissonant hardcore enthusiasts alike. Oh, and Black Flag lovers. Loma‘s fun little cover of “Spray Paint” (the fourth track on the split) is plain awesome.