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Six years since their self-titled debut, the trans-Atlantic d-beat/crust/punk project Split Cranium will return with their sophomore album I’m The Devil and I’m OK. Guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (SUMAC, Old Man Gloom) and guitarist Jussi Lehtisalo (from legendary Finnish shapeshifters Circle) are joined by Faith Coloccia (keyboards/vocals – Mamiffer, Mara), Nate Newton (bass – Converge, Doomriders) and Tomi Leppänen (drums – Circle, K-X-P) making I’m The Devil and I’m OK simultaneously more sonically rounded and more visceral and vicious than the band’s debut album. “We wanted to make a record that was less straightforward than the first one,” Turner says. “Jussi loves melody and I love dissonance and noise, so that is probably the healthy creative contrast that made this record what it is.”
Split Cranium wastes no time establishing their mission statement and opens the album with Popol Vuh-inspired keyboards by Coloccia that saturate the ruthless reinterpretation of the Discharge template on “Evil Hands”. The following 9 tracks continue to be driven by the blazing guitar malaise of Lehtisalo and the harrowing bellows of Turner, in addition to melodic counterpoints provided by Newton, the ethereal keys/vocals summoned by Coloccia, and the sturdy backbone from Leppänen. These are but a few of the components that knock I’m The Devil and I’m OK off the axis of traditional d-beat hardcore.
The strongest records in the anarcho-punk canon have figured out ways to inject melody or push extremes without diffusing their punch or diminishing their hooks. Split Cranium retains the principal components of speed and vitriol while expanding their frequency spectrum into realms of both beauty and sheer ugliness, making I’m The Devil and I’m OK a white-knuckle headfuck in a realm of sterile imitations.
I’m the Devil and I’m OK is due out May 25th via Ipecac Recordings and is available for pre-order below. More news and songs to surface soon.