Thursday, March 21, 2013

Osk - Wretched Existence//Bleak Future 2007-2010 (2012)

Compilation, To Live A Lie Records
April 9th, 2012

Genre: Grindcore
Region: Canada

Finally got a hold of this: compilation of all Osks' material up to 2010, including the spits I have. It's a wicked collection that represents the band as well any full length would. Wretched Existence /// Bleak Future should have made it onto my year end list in at least the underrated section if not on the main list even if it isn't new material. Actually I just recently realized that Cvlt Nation gave them some attention right around the time I was still checking out records for my Canada article

What's great is it is absolutely about trampling you but the shifts in pace and ideas is very frequent and swift which keeps things very fresh without leaving the fundamentals. All of it is smart and very much worth your time, in this case just over 20 minutes. You can spare it for Osk especially if you're as late on this as I am. This is well worth the small amount of cash and they sell it cheaper live too. This mangled patch of grind is laid out as follows...

Tracks 1-5 From Split w/Scumbelly
Tracks 6-9 From Split w/Roskopp
Tracks 10-13 From Split w/War Hero

The first 13 tracks are all from their early Canadian grind-powerviolence colaborations which I've mentioned before. This is where two of my original favorites reside ("Endless Repent" and "Arm Yourself") though really Osk are not a grind band that mess with filler as far as I can tell, and manage to keep their grind chops varied. For example "It All Means Nothing" reeks of Mudlark with the slow swing of the rhythms, or "Empty White Box" which starts out sounding like something Adversarial might cook up but then shifts back into the grind ebb ("Blank Page" does this too), and "Giving Up" which has a GridLink/Sleep Terror quality to it in terms of it's urgency and intensity of the abrupt riffs/blasts.

This leads into the deadly line up of "Endless Repent", "Knowingly Ignorant", "Arm Yourself", and "Beyond Control" which are some of the more memorable tracks they've put out. "Assume" is an addictive 40 second thrash attack with a minute amount of dissonance. You get the idea: everything on these splits is loud and finely tuned for scorching earth. A few I heard a few weeks back when they opened for Iron Lung.

Tracks 14-16 From Split w/ The Afternoon Gentlemen

One of the tracks from this split I had heard ("Mouth Pollution") but the rest I couldn't find. Now that I have WE/BF that's been remedied, and the three tracks here continue to show Osk's merciless grind assault in a very good light. "Stranded At Sea" stands out the most for me because like "Empty White Box" (but even more pronounced and focused) the specter of death metal grabs hold for a few seconds to great effect. It's really cool to hear some of that influence surface more purely before being mixed into the grind chaos, it's impressive and something that I really like. "Stranded At Sea" is quickly moving up my list of favorites from them, the mixture and positioning of the styles and the strength of the material that filters through them is tremendous; all in one minute. "Walking Asleep" is also worthy of a mention: the aggression will erode your skull like an eraser on paper and then the grooves that follow make it all the more sweet.

(If you want to hear/download The Afternoon Gentlemen's side of this split they have it up for free on bandcamp)

Tracks 17-20 Previously Unreleased

Several of these (17 and 18) I had heard prior to this but I suppose they are officially the unreleased songs. Not overly remarkable compared to some other tracks here, but the ruthless approach has not lessened and there are a few excellent moments in the long tracks. "Lie Thru Yer Teeth" is one example especially from the mid-point onward where it turns into stoner sludge almost, and "Creeper" slows things down a way further. Osk certainly can shred 30 seconds in pro fashion but they can do an equal amount of damage in longer stretches without fighting to hold your attention.

Track 21 From Intellect Comp.
Track 22 From CYCL 2 Comp. 

The final tracks are from other compilations I've never heard of, and one track here "Gobs From Reno" I heard live when they closed their set with it. It's a real nice song hampered a little by the production here. "Earwig" is another exercise in compression in under 30 seconds, slashing through powerviolence territory with razor riffs and a small amount of chunk.

Again I recommend grind fans check these guys out. You can buy this from Scream//Writhe, To Live A Lie Records, and probably a few other hardcore/punk/metal distros out there so check around.

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Dropcanvas)

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