Released: 2017, HPGD Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
You’ve got to hand it to Mike and the HPGD Productions team; they’ve really turned releasing underground music from bands you wouldn’t likely hear otherwise into an art form. With a healthy release schedule each year, some of it is surely forgettable, but a lot of it’s just as often gold. This new split CD from New Jersey upstarts Dutchguts and Chained to the Dead sits somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, but succeeds regardless at being crusty, blood soaked fun.
Dutchguts takes the first half of the disc with their unique brand of thrash sludge. It’s definitely rough around the edges, but has a total D.R.I. meets Eyehategod vibe to it; completely id, completely raw, and requires zero mental investment (in the best possible way). “Snake Piss” is the best of their contributions, a Southern-fried, bluesy jam that reeks of stale whiskey and cheap cigarettes.
Chained to the Dead are more along the lines of early Autopsy with a hint of old school Pungent Stench ickiness lingering in the air. They’ve definitely got that old school death gore theme going, but tracks like “The Ones That Walk Away” and “The Ballad of Melting Hobos” are surprisingly well put together and show the band putting their own spin on a well tread format. And with its filthy, funeral dirge veneer and vocals soaked in stomach bile, “The Beast From the East” is easily the strongest tune of the entire split.
Good tunes from two stylistically different extreme bands that are both on the come up – I’d call that a win. Take chance and get your hands dirty, this kind of split is what the underground metal scene is all about.