Alea Jacta Est/Fat Ass split CD

Posted on Monday, November 17th, 2008 @ 7:01am » permalink

Alea Jacta Est/Fat Ass - splitThe latest from Nothing But a Beatdown Records is a split CD offering six tracks apiece from French acts Alea Jacta Est and Fat Ass – two bands that I had never heard prior to this. Alea Jacta Est kicks things off with a thick, chugging style rooted in the niche of "beatdown" metalcore you'd expect from the label, though it's not all bass drops and mosh breaks by any means. There are actually a number of faster and more traditionally-based metallic hardcore rhythms, while a few subtly thrashy picking patterns or Slayer-esque metal riffs increase the variation to keep the songwriting interesting. Sure, expect gruff vocals with huge gang backups and loads of straightforward power chords that lean towards a simplistically chunky approach, but there's actually a lot going on beneath the surface here, so the material's not as stripped down as you might initially perceive it to be. Fat Ass then follows, and while I typically would not expect to enjoy a band with a name like "Fat Ass", I have to say that they're pretty god damn solid. As anticipated their approach isn't terribly far removed from that of Alea Jacta Est, placing a lot of emphasis on pounding basslines and chugging rhythms, granted their vocal delivery is more over the top (I could absolutely do without the sparse "urp urp" pig squeal moments, though, I hate that shit) and the compositions do tend to be a little more straightforward "beatdown" oriented. Their guitar tone boasts a little more texture, however, which actually lends a pretty interesting twist to their overall aesthetic, and really pays off when they unload some intensely discordant chord phrasings (check the intro to "The Devil's Rejects", which is incredibly fucking promising). This is the second straight release from Nothing But a Beatdown Records that's high-quality, in your face European metalcore, so I'll damn sure be looking forward to hearing what they drop next, without a doubt…

Alea Jacta Est "Leave No Man Behind"
Fat Ass "The Devil's Rejects"

You can also download the 2007 demos from both bands (and loads of other material) through Nothing But a Beatdown's digital label, so check that out as well if you like what you hear above.

Purchase:

@ Nothing But a Beatdown Records

2 Comments...

  1. paul says:

    As I've grown older my musical palate has become less tolerant towards certain genres. As a result, this form of hardcore rarely makes an appearance, if any, in my daily listening schedule. This growing intolerance is similar to that racist grandmother/father (c’mon everyone has one) whose prejudices increase with age (please excuse my piss-poor attempt at humor). The lyrics usually kept me at a distance, as they are generally one dimensional with thought provoking lyrics being the exception, not the standard. Quality lyrics are often few and far between. It’s shocking how most bands will focus solely on the music’s composition, paying no attention to the lyrical content. Could you imagine Stanley Kubrick pouring his heart and soul into the direction of a film, whilst resorting to dialogue written by his nephew who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome? Astonishingly the common themes of “beatdown hardcore” revolve around “beating your ass” and “beating your ass with the help of their crew”. Another reason I’ve avoided this music is due to their fanbase. Typically these bands attract a regular following (note that this is a generalization and by no means is this their whole fanbase) comprised of a toughguy/meathead oriented crowd, which is not really my cup of tea.

    Additionally, when I was younger and angrier (these days I’m just malcontent) I would appease those emotions with that fiercely working class genre know as Oi!, instead of “beatdown” hardcore. While different musically, they do share some of the same lyrical content and attitudes. Maybe it’s because I spent those years in New Jersey (which had a huge Oi! following) or possibly the fact that ska was huge at the time, but I loved that music. Oi! was the black sheep of the punk rock family. Meaning that Oi! would never find commercial success. I used to love the fact that I would never see a Condemned 84 or Last Resort T-shirt poised in the window of Hot Topic, eagerly awaiting purchase by the next trend of so-called “rebels” that MTV produces by the thousand. For no particular reason I found something intriguing about the music’s weird combination of aggression and melody. If you’re into “beatdown hardcore” you may find Oi! to be an easy transition.

    Getting back on topic, I can honestly say the French consistently produce some high quality bands. I don't know what they put in the water, but they’re doing something right. I love the breakdown at about 2:47 during Fat Ass’s track, that shit slays. However, the vocals may take some getting used to, along with the retarded name. “Over the top” is a good way to describe it. In my opinion the split goes to Alea Jacta Est. Their guitar sound is perfect, while the inclusion of the more intricate, metal sounding riffs, which are uncharacteristic of this genre, helps keep things interesting. Despite my personal disregard for this genre, it’s hard to ignore this shit when it’s done right. Honestly I had no reason to expand my “toughguy hardcore” collection beyond Sheer Terror or Neglect, but this tickled my interest. Sorry, for the rant. Since nobody else has responded I figured I’d make mine worthwhile (despite the fact that most of it’s personal and little content is directed to the actual bands).

    One final note, has anyone else heard of an Amebix reunion tour with Kylesa? Good God almighty, that’s the last band I would have expected to reform. I didn’t think squatters lived that long.

  2. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Great comment. And probably the longest comment I've ever gotten on the site, by far, ha, ha. Hell, the comment's longer than my write-up!

    I totally know what you mean, though despite the fact that I've never been "tough", I've always been a complete sucker for that style of metallic hardcore. I like to think that I tend to favor the bands that "do it right", but… you know, opinions vary!

    And yeah, that Amebix reunion blew my mind as well. Never saw that coming…

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