Fat Guy Who Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt and Jxckxlz are two hardcore/punk acts out of Australia. Australia has had a history with good hardcore releases in the last few years, with IDYLLS’ Prayer For Terrene being one of my favorite albums of the 2014 thus far. Being given an opportunity to listen to more from Australia’s hardcore scene is nothing short of a pleasure. Both acts have plenty of highlights to note in what is a year to love for split albums.
Aesthetically, both acts are similar in genre but different in execution. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt tend to glide more toward a grindcore structure with shorter song lengths and a more boisterous approach. The vocals are screamed clear and loudly to pull a listener’s attention. Despite only using basic instrumentation for a metal act, the walls of sound are lush and thriving. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt attack you with a seemingly mathematic approach, but their starts and stops are truly unpredictable. Jxckxlz use a much different idea for structure, resorting more toward four to seven minute long tracks that are the use many genre staples. The range of their work on this split goes in directions of hardcore, doom, and even thrash metal. Vocals are always present throughout but the mixing pushes forward nasty and speedy guitars as the focal point.
Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt has a smaller half to the split coming in for two tracks under eight total minutes. “Cicada/Grasshopper” is a blistering 29 seconds of short, fast, and frenzied vocals and guitars that pound into their meatier second track. The insect theme is continued with the second second, “Carpenter Ant”. The track opens with the staple of their sound which is thundering drum beats, a noticeable bass line, speedy guitars, and cleaner screamed vocals. Things simmer down a bit with a slower breakdown, punctured by powerful and erratic guitar work. The hypnotic mixing of spoken word and shouted vocals muddy up the second half, while the late breakdown stops the momentum to a grinding halt.
Jxckxlz drop four songs for their end of the split, clocking in around sixteen minutes. “Distractions From You” kick off their output in solid fashion. The track opens with a heavy and sludgy guitar line and booming drums. Their vocal attack is decidedly deeper and imposing, while a drum-led breakdown slows everything down with spoken-word vocals to add a mixture. The breakdown is busted open with a heavy guitar riff, along with a scaling guitar solo to keep the nasty tone moving forward. “Solace” shows the band under a more punk-based sound, with heavy but faster guitar leads. The bass line in the track is perfect to match the more intense drums throughout. The contrast from the fast and slow segments of the song are jarringly well-done, with infectious lead vocals to seal the deal.
“Trophic Level” is the most brooding effort of the split. The bass to lead off the barrage is heavy and dirty, much like the punchy guitar lead. The vast blankness of the track creates a nice and hazy tone for the vocals to match. There is tint of doom metal to the track, with a sweeping background guitar solo and slow riffs. The drums to end the ride are nothing short of breathtaking. Jxckxlz end their split with the best they could possibly have created. “Cause and Effect” is a masterful attack in messy vocals, guitars, and drums. The whole song gives a feeling of falling to pieces in front of the listener, especially emphasized by the devastating guitars near the end of the track.
Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt vs. Jxckxlz delivers another strong split for fans of hardcore, punk, or any heavy rock fan in general. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt show off their more frenetic and unpredictable attack on full-blast with their end, while Jxckxlz show off a broad range of genres despite using only four songs to do so. The most important thing to learn from this split is obvious though. Keep an eye out for any new output from either act because they are well worth your hard-earned cash and time.
1. Cicada/Grasshopper(Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt)
2. Carpenter Ant(Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt)
3. Distractions From You(Jxckxlz)
5. Trophic Level(Jxckxlz)
6. Cause and Effect(Jxckxlz)
This record will be sure to please fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, GAZA, Converge, Botch, Pig Destroyer and Cursed.
Both groups are hitting Australia’s east coast in September/October.