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Since their inception early last year, innovative Swiss metallers Coilguns have been bursting with creativity which has seen their sonically violent discharge unleashed, thus far, on a split EP with Kunz in 2011, a thirty minute EP, 'Stadia Rods', just a few months back and, now, more new material on another split release with their German buddies in NVRVD (or Never Void by extension). So they've not been overly prolific in their output but considering the trio of musicians that comprise Coilguns are also members of The Ocean - sticksman Luc Hess, Louis Jucker (who's now abandoned bass to concentrate solely on vocals and 'crowd fighting') and guitarist Jona Nido (whose rig affords a fully resonant sound that enables "him to sound like 2 guitar players and a bass player") - they've still managed to spew a steady flow of aural vehemence over the past few months to maintain interest levels.

So two new studio cuts are on offer here from Coilguns as well as two live recordings. Well, in actual fact, the two tracks from the studio were actually recorded live in said environment in a somewhat spontaneous manner while the band were over in Australia (although Jucker put down his vocals back in Switzerland a few days later) after receiving an email from NVRVD asking if they'd be interested in contributing to a split EP. It seems spontaneity and impulsive creativity are key ingredients to Coilguns' aesthetic as, once again, they've succeeded in fabricating two further slices of structured cacophony that spit, bite, and chew at your ears as guitar, drums and angst-infused growls combine in all kinds of twisted barbarities of musical iconoclasm to create a tortured frenzy of noise...but, like I say, it's well-structured cacophony, held together as it is by the high-level of musicianship on display in Coilguns' latest outing of genuine metal extremity. Actually, the cacophonic onslaught is held at bay for a couple of minutes on lengthy opener 'Mandarin Hornet' as the Swiss men build up tension though an atmospherically minimalist guitar/drums intro before a pick scratched down the strings triggers the mania and Coilguns then let rip. And the opening, simple motif occasionally punctuates the song throughout so it does feel like a well-rounded piece despite the spontaneity of its birth.

NVRVD's two new tracks are not as cacophonically batty as those of Coilguns, but are a little more straightforward in structure - only in a relative sense though, as their dynamic is still an innovative one within the context of their self-proclaimed post-metal/hardcore fusion. Also a trio, bassist Stefan Braunschmidt and guitarist Christian Braunschmidt share vocal duties which range from hardcore-esque screams to death growls and these efficaciously embellish the dissonant hard-hitting riffage, sporadic feedback, picked notes and bass-heavy tonalities with just the right amount of aggression. For my personal tastes, Coilguns' music, at least on this release, shows a greater level of innovation and they're undoubtedly one of the most exciting bands to burst onto the extreme metal scene during the past decade but there's enough variation and experimentalism in NVRVD's music to make me want to check 'em out further. Interestingly, the two NVRVD live tracks that close this release are of greater intrigue and innovation than the newly recorded ones. And while the two live tracks from each band lack the studio polish of the others and are rawer in quality, they offer a nice insight into Coilguns and NVRVD's adept playing abilities and general tightness of their material's execution on the stage.

The last thing worthy of mention is that this split release is available in two formats - 10" vinyl and a "handmade" CD. It's the latter which has been sent for review and what a stunner it is in terms of packaging. Very few releases that arrive at Metal Discovery HQ actually have me marvelling at their physicality (I usually reserve that for the actual music) but this is something rather special. A hand-numbered, wax-sealed, thick black envelope contains yet more treasures as within is a two-panel piece of silkscreen printed A5, textured cardboard. Even the CD itself has been lovingly created in its black, vinyl-grooved form. In a day and age where a lot of people's record collections reside merely on electronic media, it's a sheer joy and reassuring to know that so much effort is occasionally made by a select few to lovingly craft a CD in such stunning packaging that makes you want to own and cherish it, just as people had to do in a pre-mp3 generation. Limited to only 200 copies, you'd be well advised to grab this work of art immediately for both the packaging and the music.
Review by Mark Holmes
26th Sept 2012
1) Mandarin Hornet (Coilguns)
2) Dewar Flasks (Coilguns)
3) Hungary for Needs (Never Void)
4) Direktore (Never Void)
5) Mastoid - Live (Coilguns)
6) Parkensine - Live (Coilguns)
7) Son of Man - Live (Never Void)
8) Null and Void - Live (Never Void)
"...guitar, drums and angst-infused growls combine in all kinds of twisted barbarities of musical iconoclasm to create a tortured frenzy of noise..."