Review: Vegas/Long Gone, Split (Judas Chair Collective, 2017)

This split marks Finnish label the Judas Chair Collective's first foray into the vinyl realm. Vegas begins side A of their fifth release of 2017 (sixth if you count the re-release of the Ei Savua Ilman Tulta cassette) with "Athanor": a relatively straightforward and hard-hitting three-minute slab of powerful metallic hardcore that highlights the band's Integrity-influenced roots while retaining their own textural nuances. Clearer and more forcefully produced than some of Vegas' other recent efforts, this is another of their strongest outings as of late. After opening with a harsher and more blown-out intro, rugged distorted bass then leads "Determination" down a more chaotically intense path that structurally shapeshifts from minute to minute—passing through a more focal and melodic lead passage and some intensely obfuscated vocal effects along the way.

Side B finds Long Gone kicking things off with "Metamorphosis." A lengthy intro of chunky midpaced power chords and pounding bass lines gives way to faster and more traditionally-based metallic hardcore with uniquely ferocious vocals—a nice touch that you don't encounter too often these days. "Delusional Whimper" once more begins with a killer midpaced intro with a badass bass presence—in this case adding a slight undercurrent of darkness to another composition that opens up into a speedier take on straightforward metallic hardcore with just the right amount of rawness. The vocals definitely feel more incensed than the group's past efforts, and really kick the material up a notch.

I haven't seen an actual physical copy yet, but from what I can gauge through photographic evidence, they look quite nice. The insert also includes full lyrics from both bands, which is always a huge plus.

It's a damn solid and well-paired split overall. Including test pressings and band-specific variations, just under 300 copies were pressed. Thankfully, that means this EP should be a bit easier to get your hands on than some of Vegas' other recent offerings!

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