Review: Dystopia/Suffering Luna Split
Proof That Diverse Splits Work
Its always a gamble releasing a split where the two bands don't really sound anything alike. On one hand it could open up listeners of the other band up to a whole new style of music. It could also cause listeners who got the split because they are fans of one of the featured bands to feel alienated by the other. Although these two songs sound nothing alike, they seem to mesh pretty well. The only parallels I am able to draw is that Suffering Luna's song has some very vague similarities to Dystopia's song "Sleep" (the version off The Aftermath.) Dystopia play their trademark fusion of crust and sludge, while Suffering Luna provide us with an interesting mix of dark psychedelia and ritualistic music.
The split kicks off with Dystopia's "Diary of a Battered Child." With both vocalists singing from the perspective of an abused child, this truly is a harrowing journey into the eyes of a victim of unforgivable cruelty. The lyrics are extremely potent, ending with the line "when I die, don't come to my funeral." The sludgy main guitar riff is what really makes this song so memorable. It basically is the definition of simple but effective. Instead of ending abruptly after the vocals stop, we are treated to a fantastic bass outro. Hard-hitting and heavy enough to crush stone, this is an excellent way to end the song.
Most fans of Dystopia are more familiar with the version of the song that appears on The Aftermath (which although technically a compilation is widely regarded as their second album.) These two version are basically the same, except for the sampling in The Aftermath version. That version samples The Breakfast Club. The sample in the into features Bender mocking Andy's loving family. The outro features Bender losing it and furiously ranting about his abusive father. Many fans dislike this version and deride the samples as silly. I, however, kind of like them. They undeniably fit the theme of the song and they're entertaining. In my eyes, the only downside to them is that they slightly obscure the bass outro. Many fans are actually unaware of the version of the song that appears on this split, as was I until someone mentioned it. Before that, I assumed that this version is exactly the same as the one that appears on The Aftermath. If the samples bother you, listening to this version would be the simple solution.
Starting off with some strange psychedelic bleeps and noises, Suffering Luna's track bears little resemblance to Dystopia's. Not long into the track, ritualistic tribal drums enter the soundscape. The track for the most part is subtle and low key. Sometimes it gets slightly heavier, in a wall of sound meets psychedelic swirl. Incoherent mumbles frequent the song, adding to the strange atmosphere. If you are open to weird music coming from left field, then this track may be of interest. The track's bizarre atmosphere can bring you into another world if you're in the right mood.
What we have here is a split by to very different but equally interesting bands. Both bands are in the crust punk scene (although the crust sound is much more prominent in Dystopia's works) and are doing something different. The second track serves as an intriguing (yet undeniably dark) cool down from Dystopia's memorable crusty sludge song. Both songs on this split are fantastic and it would be a wise decision to explore both band's discographies.