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Clawing and Offerbeest conjure up two entirely different types of horror.

The former is an Alabama-based project consisting of Jeff McLeod (Gezoleen), Austin Gaines (Calques), and Matt Finney (It Only Gets Worse, Heinali and Matt Finney, FinneYerkes et al). The trio’s debut full-length Spectral Estate was released in February by Philadelphia’s Dullest Records. It’s a deeply unsettling record, full of warm stabs of noise underneath etherial guitars and Finney’s spoken word missives, delivered in his saddened, southern drawl. Unnervingly melancholic, Clawing make noise music that doesn’t punish your ears so much as aim for your gut.

Offerbeest, on the other hand, is chaotic, frenzied and disturbed. One of Maurice "Mories" de Jong’s (Gnaw Their Tongues) numerous side projects, Offerbeest is a chance to explore additional gruesome themes through a power electronics-focused lens. De Jong creates Offerbeest material solely on analogue synths, a deviation from the computer-driven work of his previous noise project Aderlating. Gnaw Their Tongues is known for its dark lyrical content, but there’s something even nastier about Offerbeest. 2017’s Black Teeth is rough around the edges, featuring track titles like “meth for breakfast, trucker’s seed for lunch” and “skin bugs.”

These two disparate acts have come together for a brilliant split album that shows off the best each has to offer. Members of the two have cross-pollinated before, notably in de Jong and Finney’s It Only Gets Worse. But here, presented side by side, each project gets the chance to showcase its best.

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Clawing’s half follows the trajectory of Spectral Estate, but gets even more upsetting. “New Jerusalem’s” bassy throb balances Finney’s breathy proclamations; he speaks of a woman who can’t remember her child’s name, Judas drooling poison from behind his yellow teeth. It eschews brutality for a creeping, all-too-real horror.

Offerbeest’s side, meanwhile, comes out swinging with even more blitzed out electronics and shouted, distorted vocals that would make Whitehouse proud. The cavalcade of violence feels ever-so-slightly more honed in, and it’s a joy to hear de Jong cast aside conventional song structures for pure chaos.

-- Michael Siebert

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The Offerbeest/Clawing split releases June 1st via Portland’s Nailbat Tapes. Cassettes are currently available to pre-order here.

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