Saturday, April 11, 2009

Old Sarum/Raise the Curtain - Split 12" (2003?)

I first heard both Old Sarum and Raise the Curtain on a Teenage Disco Bloodbath compilation I got in the mail sometime in '05 or '06. I was immediately taken by Old Sarum's sound - a hybrid of grindcore drums, crust punk guitar and vocals, and hardcore sing alongs. From one track to the next, the band exhibit a whirlwind of influences, but more importantly an earnest desire to communicate their feelings through punk rock. Unfortunately, this album is the band's only output that I'm aware of. Honestly, all of their songs kick ass, but I'd recommend "Couches Capitalism" and "You Can't Clap with a Beer in One Hand" as good starting points. I feel a bit unqualified to compare Old Sarum's sound to any one band though - while their sound doesn't differ terribly from their partners on the split (see below), Old Sarum definitely came off as more memorable and catchy, and certainly more innovative. I'm reminded of the crop of bands in the late '90's and early '00's that fused grindcore and metallic hardcore with the political consciousness (for better of for worse) and DIY-attitudes of the mid-90's crust punk and post-hardcore crowds. Fans of Ebullition and CrimethInc bands would probably be real into this band.

On the other hand, the female-fronted Raise the Curtain have more material available than Old Sarum, but not by much. As this Split is officially sold out, Jonah was kind enough to burn me a CD with the tracks from both bands, as well as another EP from Raise the Curtain entitled The "...To Be Continued" EP. Their sound is more akin to mid-to-late nineties metallic hardcore at times, but has a very "Ebullition-esque" political and social mindset (see "Mouthsex"). While they don't necessarily mimic the bands, I can imagine fans of The Assistant, Catharsis, or Chokehold being into Raise the Curtain. It should be said that both bands hailed from the fine city of Boston, Massachusetts, and this split was recorded by Will Hollingsworth at Dead Air Studios.


400 pressed on white or grey swirled vinyl with silk-screened covers. The layout's pretty sweet, (song explanations, lots of collage work, lots of photography, etc. - very Reversal of Man), but the Raise the Curtain portion is 11x17 and the Old Sarum Portion is a sixteen page booklet with, so there's no way I'm scanning all of that shit. (While the vinyl was sold out, somehow I still got the insert. Jonah's a good dude like that.) If you know where I can score a copy, I'm highly interested. Same goes for the first As Long As We're All Living, We're All Dying 7".

Teenage Disco Bloodbath Records

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