Rvines play hardcore in the vein of Converge, a very heavy blast of sound with a lot of noisy guitars and bass along with howled vocals set far back in the mix. At first I thought their name stood for ravines, but later I realized that they were utilizing the “v” in the Latin sense, making them Ruines. Fun fact. Prairie-Litiere we’ve seen before on this blog, mostly with his own work, except this time on this split there is equal parts collaboration as there is solo stuff.
First up is collab track “Black Tar,” which definitely feels like its title. Rvines start things off with a relatively noiseless jam, serving up a heavy slab of hardcore until Prairie-Litiere begins to add subtle layers of noise/ First it’s feedback, then a bridge of more intensive electronics, until the whole thing ends in a cacophony where both Rvines and Prairie-Litiere pile on crumbling noise and feedback wails.
When Rvines plays alone, like on “Void Reich” and “The Mark On Your Arm,” there’s certainly a resemblance to the contemporary hardcore scene – as noted before, the sound of the guitars and the vocals remind quite a bit of Converge, although I’d say that I wish the vocals were a little clearer here; the guitar tends to overpower them, and they get washed out in the mix when the band isn’t using them as part of the noisier sound, like on their lengthy collaboration with Prairie-Litiere titled “Glory Be to Nothing.”
Prairie-Litiere gets one solo track, which equals about the same time as Rvines because it’s longer. Titled “Padded Disease,” this is a harsh track that combines quite a few squealing, roiling noises together. A lot of feedback and churning electronics in the background along with moments where he really layers on a number of difficult squalls, sounding like he perhaps used contact mic for the sources since there’s a lot of banging in there too.
Mostly, though, the moments when Prairie-Litiere and Rvines are working together are the best parts of this split. Unlike Merzbow’s recent collaboration with Full of Hell, this CD-R doesn’t come off as one artist’s project inviting another to join in now and again. I wasn’t too impressed with that aforementioned album because Merzbow sounded like an afterthought, rarely incorporated in the mix. Here, Rvines are able to smash out a quick blast of hardcore before allowing Prairie-Litiere to destroy the sound with noise.
It all comes together on the album’s longest song, the previously mentioned “Glory Be to Nothing”, and closer “Total War.” They morph into each other anyway, giving both tracks enough time to operate with both Rvines and Prairie-Litiere in the limelight. “Glory Be to Nothing” swells with both ethereal sustained notes and drums pounding away in the background, the use of the vocals here solely for atmosphere as the orchestral climax builds. “Total War” allows Rvines to do a crusty instrumental track at first, Prairie-Litiere’s softly buzzing noise boiling in the background.
Rvines and Prairie-Litiere come together to make some great tunes, both of them given free reign to do their own thing and also pairing up for some noise-infused hardcore. This is great for the fan of both styles of music, but those who don’t really enjoy crust or hardcore should probably keep away from this one; while Prairie-Litiere does get room to perform solo noise output, this is more of a hardcore release than harsh noise.