Good Pavlovian puppies that you are, you should be thoroughly conditioned to retch when somebody tells you an album draws inspiration from the At the Gates well.
But choke back that gag reflex because unlike all the creativity-challenged American hardcore bands content to reduce, reuse and recycle riffs from Slaughter of the Soul, Swedish grinders Splitter cut their Helvete-isms with a unique undercurrent of With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness’ more restrained melodic sense. Less Anders Bjorler, more Alf Svensson.
Frontman Fredrik Thalberg’s wailing delivery even carries a whiff of Tomas Lindberg about it as he scrapes his throat raw in the higher registers.
But it’s the fleeting glimpses of melody seeping through the blast beat attack that truly set Splitter apart from the hordes of fellow countrymen banging out grindcore noise. “Om Vingar Fanns’” two-note riff bone saws its way under your skull while “Fagelskramman,” “Hemkomst 01:00” and “Dod” slip wraithlike through swirling hints of early At the Gates melody.
And in what may be a first, lead off tune “Totalkvaddad” is a straight edge grindcore song that lacks no potency for its disavowal of debauchery.
To say a band is influenced by At the Gates or Nasum at this point is a groan worthy cliché, but Splitter manage to cross pollinate the two genetic strains, leaving an interesting and unique experiment in their wake.