The first time I had ever heard of a so called “Rock” scene was during my childhood in the mid 90’s .My cousins used to talk about Vital Signs and Junoon as if they were the next big thing, I on the other hand used to find them quite lame and used to enjoy rocking out to AC/DC and Guns N Roses. Then in the early 2000’s I found out about Pakistani progressive metal like Mizraab and Maazim through VCDs of Bollywood movies played on the local home cable channel, which I preferred , but I never really gave much attention to. I have come a long way from then, even though I am fully aware of Pakistan’s Underground Punk/Metal scene, this split has completely taken me by surprise.
The split begins with Kafir E Azam which is a two piece Grindcore band from Lahore, Pakistan. With around 9 songs the sound of this band is very bassy, a lot of emphasis on the low end, with both the distortion and gain turned to the max, which results in the band sounding absolutely filthy and raw, which is exactly how I like my Grind! This tone reminds me of a lot of bass driven powerviolence bands like Sordo, Godstomper,Skuff and of course Man is the Bastard. When it comes to the performance , Kafir E Azam is just as primal. The short songs are where the band really excel at, eschewing any kind of structure that there is in the genre and instead going for some spontaneous , short bursts of some really intense grind. That quite frankly is the aural equivalent of getting jabbed in the face repeatedly until it loses all semblance of structure! However as much as I enjoyed the shorter songs, I wish I could say the same about the long ones, The Mathematics of Oppression and Toilet Bowl Politics namely. These tend to get quite repetitive and lack the intensity of those mentioned above. Nonetheless I think Kafir E Azam’s side is fantastastic! I thoroughly enjoyed it! I firmly believe that if these guys keep going the way they do, they can very easily put Pakistan on the Global Grind Map!
After that we come to Bvlghms side of the split which is again a two man powerviolence outfit also from Pakistan. Their side consists of five songs which starts off with a sample about a man who dies mysteriously and after that we have Taaruf the first song which is quite interesting. It is somewhat connected to the sample played as each of the parts of the slow riff of the song start disappearing before eventually it stops quite abruptly. I thought this was quite an interesting idea of blending an old school powerviolence riff with modern ideas. This is continued on the second Idhar Tau Ao Bataun, which follows the typical pattern of classic powerviolence by starting out with a fast section than slowing things down, but adding a different twist to them by inserting spoken word segments, and extremely creepy echoey vocals, which again were quite interesting, The rest of the songs however I thought were a little too short, even for a genre like Powerviolence. I thought they were stimulating ideas but I think their full potential would have been better realized had they been a little longer and a bit more focused on the songwriting as the first two. Nonetheless this was quite fun, I had a good time.
All in all a pretty good package!