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Split Premiere – Hazzard’s Cure/Walken

Walken

Splits are a funny way of delivering music. Our own Jon Rosenthal described their defining traits best:

“…the strongest split releases either feature either 1) two extremely different genres, one acting as a foil to the other, or 2) two strong, individually defined examples of a specific subgenre of music.”

But there is a third way for a split to succeed, even if it’s less noted by the online journalism world. When bands from the same community get together for a collaborative release, it can act as a celebration of their scene regardless of the musical content. In this way, the split release becomes less of a magnet for new listeners and more of a fun keepsake for the locals. It’s a vinyl snapshot of a time when your ideal Saturday night is spent seeing these bands raising hell at your favorite watering hole.

The two bands on this split seven-inch, Hazzard’s Cure and Walken, feature members that have punched in time in the San Francisco and Oakland music scenes for well over a decade. These bands are impossible to pigeonhole into a single subgenre or even a “Bay Area sound”–thrash, stoner rock, doom, black metal and even hardcore punk can be heard across these two songs. It’s a sonic amalgam that looks to the past to make something new and interesting, one that couldn’t have been made in any other time but now.

If you can’t describe Hazzard’s Cure with a genre, then a feeling will have to do. It’s like walking on a tightrope; always on the edge of falling over, but maintaining an ever-tight virtuosity that keeps the balance intact. Clint Baechle’s frantic open-hand drumming is the engine that drives “Gracious Host,” a song that boasts screeching gremlin cries set against classical melodies seeping with Mission District grease. Hazzard’s Cure is a band whose hyperactivity is always apparent in their music and in their personalities: “Gracious Host” is no exception.

Walken offers a more bloodthirsty side of the split with their contribution. The drumming once again pushes the track to the edge, but this time it’s Zack Farwell (Grayceon, Squalus, ex-Giant Squid) who’s behind the sticks. His endless blasting provides a rock-solid foundation for the thrashing that rips throughout “Taking Teeth.” Bassist and vocalist Shane Bergman, who also performs the same duties in Hazzard’s Cure, litters the track with his weed-whacked shouts and gives Walken the punk edge that the best Bay Area bands take with them wherever they go. It makes for a song that kicks more ass with a handful of riffs than most bands can muster on an entire LP.

—Avinash Mittur

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