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Premonitions of War & Benümb Split

LiB 020 · 06/2005 · CD

The electric destroyers in PREMONITIONS OF WAR (Victory) join their thunderous metallic hardcore with an apocalyptic adhesive to the gutteral grindcore that eminates from the socio-political torch-bearers of CA's BENUMB (Relapse). A must have split release for fans of both bands and for fans of metal, hardcore and grind alike.

1.Written In Premonitions of War
2.Mississippi Queen Premonitions of War
3.A Useless Language Premonitions of War
4.Born Under a Bad Sign Premonitions of War
6.0% Down Enslavement for Life Benümb
7.Abatement of the Weak Incarnation Benümb
8.Free Trade Abolishment Benümb
9.Chemically Involved Circumstances Benümb
10.Internalized Subjective Opposition Benümb
11.Pay Now Suffer Later Benümb
12.Christmas Morning In The House Of Poverty Two Weeks After Bi-Partison Procrastination On A State And Local Level Failed To Provide Extensions On Existing Unemployment Claims, Before Leaving On Paid Holiday Vacation Benümb
13.Manufacturing Opportunity to Prolong the Abusive Cycle Benümb

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Author: Stewart Mason
Date: 2006-12-29
Rating: 3/5

The danger of the split EP is that one band can completely overshadow the other, and that happens in spades on the split shared by Premonitions of War and Benumb. Tracks one through four, the cuts from Premonitions of War, sound half-baked at best; a pair of seemingly tongue-in-cheek covers of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" and Albert King's Chicago blues standard "Born Under a Bad Sign" are a cute idea poorly executed. (To be fair, the opening "Written In" rides an interesting rhythm that sounds almost like a metalcore take on Bo Diddley, though they don't do much with this intriguing sound.) After this half-hearted space-filler, Benumb basically slaughter Premonitions of War with their offerings. Boiling down the basic precepts of grindcore into nine minimalist buzz bombs, most of them lasting under two minutes, Benumb are to grindcore what the famously strict Japanese noise bands are to punk, an exercise in deliberate self-limitation. That makes the two relatively "normal" (in both sound and length) tracks that much more surprising, revealing that the group are in fact capable of more straightforward metal alongside their usual experiments.

Stylus Magazin

Author: cosmo lee
Date: 2006-11-22

in punk and metal, lo-fi production values aren't necessarily a bad thing. Raw, dirty sound can help convey angst and energy, as well as make records sound more "underground." On this split CD by Premonitions of War and Benumb, though, a bit more polish would have helped.

Ohio's Premonitions of War contributes four songs here, and the sound quality is shockingly bad, even by underground metal standards. The songs sound like they were recorded on a cassette tape; the sound is muddy, boxy, and dull, with little stereo separation. This is a shame, as two of the songs, "Written In" and "A Useless Language," are brief but brutal grindcore, with heavy, vicious breakdowns sure to incite moshpit mayhem.

The other two songs are lumbering, downtuned covers of "Mississippi Queen" and "Born Under a Bad Sign." Premonitions of War has always had a bluesy side, but with their noodly solos and cookie monster vocals, these covers seem like jokes. Still, the idea of hardcore kids karate chopping to Mountain and Albert King is hard to resist.

California's Benumb contributes nine songs of blistering grindcore on this disc. The production here is a little better, although the guitars are buried in the mix, and the kick drum is too loud. The snare drum is comically tinny; not since Helmet's Betty has a snare sounded so pitched-up and ping-y.

But the vocals are clear and prominent, and vocals are what set Benumb apart from other grindcore bands. Instead of the usual low death growl, singer Pete Pontikoff has an anguished midrange scream that sounds like an office worker gone raving mad after one too many staff meetings. Indeed, his vocal delivery is more like a stream of consciousness rant that happens to have paint-peeling metal underneath.

Pontikoff has plenty to be pissed off about, judging from song titles such as "0% Down Enslavement for Life," "Free Trade Abolishment," and "Christmas Morning in the House of Poverty Two Weeks After Bi-Partisan Procrastination on a State and Local Level Failed to Provide Extensions on Existing Unemployment Claims, Before Leaving on Paid Holiday Vacation," a Fiona Apple-esque title that almost takes longer to read than the song's 30-second length.

Obviously, Benumb has a social conscience. How effective is a message, though, if no one can understand it? The lyrics are unintelligible amongst the screamed vocals, and the liner notes provide lyrics to only one song. Despite his rants against oppressive free trade and systemic inefficiency, Pontikoff is an Army reservist currently serving in Iraq. There's a lot going on here, and deciphering politics through song titles seems incongruous for such bluntly forceful music.

In contrast to the lo-fi production is the album's incredible artwork. Relapse Records in-house artist Orion Landau pulled out all the stops here. The cover image is a decaying face curtained by a Medusa-like tangle of computer cables. The background is a textured photo of business-suit-wearing drones. The layout is clean, the reds are fierce, and the overall design rivals Landau's amazing artwork for Nile's Annihilation of the Wicked.

For both bands, the production holds back what is otherwise solid material here. Better introductions to these bands would be Premonitions of War's spectacular Left in Kowloon, and Benumb's By Means of Upheaval, which carries on the socially conscious grindcore tradition of Napalm Death, Nasum, and Dying Fetus. However, this CD is worth it for the artwork alone, and should tide fans over until the bands' next full-lengths.

Breaking custom

Author: Tylor Wagnon
Date: 2006-11-19
Rating: 2/5

When word got out that two of today's best heavy bands would be pairing up for a split, excitement was imminent. The potentially lethal combination of Premonitions of War's modern sludge/grind and Benumb's politically charged, Napalm Death-style grindcore was simply mind-boggling. The result, however, leaves quite a bit to be desired.

First off, the production on this split is terrible. Both bands sound like complete garbage. The guitars are a muddy wall of noise drowning out the bass completely and it doesn't help that the drums are totally flimsy and weak.

Premonitions of War start things off with two new tracks and two covers. Interestingly enough they opted to cover Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" and Cream's "Born Under a Bad Sign". The covers basically sound like detuned versions of the originals, with terrible throaty singing. The new tracks might be good, but I can't really hear much due to the shoddy recording.

After PoW's 4 tracks, Benumb comes in with 9 of their own. You know what to expect out of Benumb; hyper-speed punk rock with metal overtones. Again, the production makes it hard to tell what's going on, but otherwise Benumb's half furthers the band's delve into old school grind.

Bad cover songs and crappy production aside, this split could actually be good, but who knows, you can't hear a damn thing. A fine example of why a good production job is essential, this split is basically unlistenable.

Aversion Online

Date: 2006-11-09
Rating: 5/10

This seems like somewhat of an odd pairing to me, what with the churningly frantic and dissonant metalcore of Premonitions of War up against Benumb's ripping contemporary grindcore fury, but a little variety never hurt anyone, did it? Sadly, Premonitions of War just hasn't been clicking with me over the years. The first time I encountered them I thought they possessed a great deal of raging potential, but I was somewhat indifferent about their last full-length, and I'm not particularly into these four tracks at all. The first (and most significant) problem to arise is that the recording is pretty terrible, so like their last record the recording's the killing blow here. The bass gets lost behind an obnoxiously muddy wall of guitars and vocals, and the drums walk an odd line of flimsy muddiness as well, so the entire mix is too sludgy and clouded up to do much damage. The songs aren't that hot either, though. Offered are two originals and two covers, with "Written In" opening with some decent grinding blasts and a few quick shifts, but the burly vocal growls are sort of overpowering, and a lot of the energy gets lost big time in the recording. Then, "A Useless Language" is built around churning midpaced alternate picking with similar problems at the hands of the sound quality. Nothing too exciting, though both tracks are perfectly concise at less than two minutes apiece. Faring worse are the covers: "Mississippi Queen" by Mountain, and Cream's "Born Under a Bad Sign", both of which are played fairly true to form, just made heavier and sludgier. The vocals ain't doin' it for me in these cuts, however, sort of taking a burly, gruff, forced "singing" approach that kind of makes the songs sound like ineffective jokes - though I don't think that was the intention. To my dismay Benumb fares little better from a recording standpoint, as the drums are distant, the bass impossible to make out, the guitars muddy, and the vocals left off to the side to fend for themselves in slightly clearer territory. The mix also lets some of the falters in the drumming become overly apparent since the guitars are so muddy that half of the riffs are a total jumble, so... it's quite an unfortunate scene all around with this one. Ironically Benumb's famously short tracks take up the larger chunk of this split, opting for a number of longer songs like "Ageless Pain" and "0% Down Enslavement For Life" - the former highlighting their sludgier side while the latter is surprisingly crammed with blistering speeds and vocal patterns so fast the lyrics can't keep up! "Internalized Subjected Opposition" and "Pay Now Suffer Later" are a little more forceful than most of the other tracks as far as taking a no bullshit approach that keeps the speed memorable and the writing focused, and "Manufacturing Opportunity to Prolong the Abusive Cycle" is pretty classic grind with more insanely fast and messy vocal arrangements, but... the parts can't save the whole. The layout looks decent and consistent, with lyrics and credits for each band (granted Benumb only includes the lyrics for one song). Premonitions of War takes the abstract and open road ("This is not poetry blending together every word you thought meant so much..."), while Benumb's sole inclusion is of the socio-political realm in the dissonant and noisy textures and spoken vocals of "Free Trade Abolishment". In the end, I regret to say that this split is a massive letdown. I'm a huge Benumb fan, so I was actually really looking forward to this one, but I don't care for any of Premonitions of War's contributions, and even Benumb fails to deliver at the level of intensity I've grown to expect from the band. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.a

Razor Cake

Author: Mr Z
Date: 2006-11-07

Benumb are metalheads from Northern California who offer up hardcore mixed with a huge helping of grindcore, the likes of and speed of the good ol’ Charles Bronson 10” and a slight wink to Aus Rotten lead vocals. Premonitions of War deliver straight forward metal which isn’t all that bad, and they almost steal the show with their cover of the blues classic, “Born Under a Bad Sign.” This is definitely a necessity for your grindcore or metal libraries


Author: Nathan Williams
Date: 2006-11-06
Rating: 4/5

If you are looking for clear production, avoid this cd... but this is actually everything you could want in a real grind cd. There is such a level of sloppiness here, I mean you can even hear the drummer mess up several times... but it's still good. The original PoW song's are both great, but the vocals on the covers are just not that great. Benumb is pretty much typical Benumb, but the songs are really good. Get this if you like : Napalm Death, Eyehategod, Soilent Green or the Melvins .


Author: Ollie Fröhlich
Date: 2006-10-17

The electric destroyers in PREMONITIONS OF WAR (Victory) join their thunderous metallic hardcore with an apocalyptic adhesive to the gutteral grindcore that eminates from the socio-political torch-bearers of CA's BENUMB (Relapse). A must have split release for fans of both bands and for fans of metal, hardcore and grind alike.


Author: Ollie Fröhlich
Date: 2006-10-10
Rating: 6/7

Was haben sie denen denn in den Tee gemischt? PREMONITIONS OF WAR mit vier virusinfizierten langsamen metallischen Bluessongs, abgrundtief runter getunte Gitarren, kehliger Gesang, alles auf der Kriechspur. Erinnert an CLUTCH, aber alles in zehnmal extremer, gewöhnungsbedürftig, dann aber sehr geil. Dann neun kurze Politgrindcore-Attacken von BENUMB, die soundtechnisch doch ein deutliches Drehen des Lautstärkereglers nach rechts erfordern, um eine ähnliche Durchschlagskraft zu erreichen wie PREMONITIONS OF WAR. Nun, die Bands zu vergleichen wäre wie Äpfel mit Birnen zu vergleichen, im Grunde zwei vollkommen unterschiedliche Musikrichtungen, die beide was für sich haben. BENUMB-Sänger Pete darf grade mit der US-Army schöne Tage in Bagdad verbringen, jaja, wenn man seine Seele verkauft.

Unbound Zine

Date: 2006-07-11
Rating: 4/5

Despite this being a slightly odd pairing of bands, this is one of the heaviest albums ever released by Thorp Records. Premonitions of War is up first with four songs, two of which are new songs, while the other two are very surprising covers. The band plays manic extreme music that rests somewhere between grindcore, death metal, and hardcore. Blast beats are met with guttural vocals, while the band’s unique riffs weave layers of brutality overtop. There is a bit of noisy sludge atmosphere to the band as well which helps them stand out from the pack even more. The two covers are Mississippi Queen and Born Under a Bad Sign, both of which aren’t changed that much from the original versions. Of course the versions are heavier and the vocals are more guttural, but they still work.

Benumb contributes 8 tracks of their patented grindcore. If you’ve heard any of their past albums you know exactly what to expect, raging speed, shouted vocals, and not a whole lot of deviation from their standard formula. These songs are a bit longer then they have been in the past though, covering a wider variety of tempos, but still being just as maniacal.

This is an excellent split for any of you into extreme music.


Author: Arlette Huguenin
Date: 2005-07-27

Den Anfang dieser amerikanischen Split-Vorstellung machen PREMONITIONS OF WAR, welche mit zwei eigenen Songs und zwei Coverversionen aufwarten. In einer enorm matschig-dumpfen Produktion kämpfen sie sich durch ein Gemisch aus Grindcore und Ami-Death Metal, welche sämtlichen polierten Melodien abschwört. Stattdessen schleppt sich das Quintett auch mal krank durch die Gegend, kurze melodiösere Ausflüge der Gitarre erinnern zwar an schlecht aufgenommene PARADISE LOST-Demotapes, gehen jedoch bald in der restlichen Brachialbotanik unter. Interessant ist hierbei, dass der bluesige Spirit von CREAMs "Born Under A Bad Sign" sämtliches Proll-Gegrunze und Geholze von PREMONITIONS OF WAR überlebt und obenauf zu schwimmen scheint. Die Qualitäten der eigenen Songs vermögen jedoch nicht mit den Reizen der Coverversionen mitzuhalten, da erstere einfach zu austauschbar erscheinen.

Mit ganzen neun Songs sind die Grindcoreler von BENÜMB danach an der Reihe. Auch hier lassen sich produktionstechnische Mängel ausmachen, die aggressiven Vocals sind zu sehr in den Vordergrund gemischt worden, die getriggerten Drums haben zuwenig Druck und die Gitarren fristen ein Dasein als sägende Saiteninstrumente im Hintergrund. Überhaupt scheint der Sänger einen Schnellsprechrekord aufstellen zu wollen, wie es etwa "0% down" vermuten lässt - bei der Tagesschau wird Pete wohl nie tätig sein. Ansonsten bieten BENÜMB abwechslungsreiche Passagen in ihrem Geprügel, nehmen auch mal das Tempo zugunsten schleppender Parts raus. Geschwindigkeit regiert jedoch trotz allem und die Amis geben sich gerne minimalistisch schnell.

Insgesamt bietet das vorliegende Splitunterfangen allerdings eher einen unterdurchschnittlichen Einblick in extreme Metalgefilde aus amerikanischen Landen. Sowohl die Produktion als auch ein zu grosser Anteil an Durchschnittsgebolze führen lediglich zu einer Kaufempfehlung für allessammelnde Grindcore-Fetischisten.


Date: 2005-07-11

Premonitions of War's covers of "Mississippi Queen" and "Born Under A Bad Sign" are so awful, they're priceless. Imagine a fourth-rate Southern sludge band jamming on these during their second practice together (during their third, they realized they sucked and broke up), with a singer who specializes in cookie monster death metal (which means eating the mic). The tasty string bends of "Mississippi Queen" sway and nod more than bend, and the "are they in tune?" down-tuned trudge sticks to yer boots like swamp mud. And Benumb? Whatever, they're on Relapse, social-political grindcore or something. Dated sound, unexciting and predictable, and the song titles are like 10 words long. Skip the purchase and download "Mississippi Queen" for have a good belly laugh.

Overall Rating




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