California's Shadow Limb and Squalus (mems Giant Squid, Khorada, et al) have teamed up for a split release Mass and Power for the venerable Translation Loss, which is scheduled to arrive on 12/14. The seven-song release features a side from each band, including both the title track and "Lobstrosities" which make their debut here today.
"Mass and Power" by Squalus is a prog-oriented track that is more piano-focused than anything, punching up the melodies with guitar lines all while a goth-y lead sits in the forefront on vocals. Just when you think things are staying call for the long haul, the band breaks out into a giant tribal-style section of sludge destruction and then back again.
"Lobstrosities" by Shadow Limb is a bit more straightforward into the metal world but no less interesting. The track takes on a sludgy, half-speed form that's slightly bluesy and muscular, anchored by clean vocals. Think latter Mastodon mixed with Red Fang and you're in the ballpark.
Shadow Limb's Mike Crew had the following to say about his band's contribution: "All four of us were in an all instrumental band called La Fin du Monde for many years. When that band ended we started up Shadow Limb pretty quickly. We had been writing a lot of 10 minute songs with several different sections with La Fin du Monde, so we knew we wanted to do something heavier and more concise with Shadow Limb. 'Lobstrosities' was one of the first songs we wrote and I think we accomplished our goal pretty well. It's one of our favorite songs to play live, and was our first choice for a song when the idea of a split with Squalus came up!"
Stream "Lobstrosities" above and "Mass and Power" now, and order yours via Translation Loss.
photograph by Sesar Sanchez
"When we recorded The Great Fish... last year, we came across the common problem of not being able to fit the whole record on a single 12" LP, so we had to decide which fin to cut off the beast," says Squalus' Aaron John Gregory. "The song Fourth of July, which recreates the early conversation between Mayor Vaughn and Sheriff Brody about shutting down the beaches - was eventually chosen. There were a lot of reasons for this choice, but the main one being that I had fucked up the lyrical quote in the chorus, getting just one word wrong in our original recording. So we shelved it to be fixed and released later.
"Now this split with Shadow Limb had been a long time coming. These dudes have been a brother band of our's since our days of being Giant Squid and since they were La Fin Du Monde, so we've been talking about doing something together like this for years. For us, Fourth of July, seemed like the perfect track to contribute."
Gregory continues: "Also at this time, we had started playing our one instrumental song, Swim Charlie, Swim live with vocals; quoted from the great scene of the two men trying to catch the shark off a small dock using one of their wife's holiday roast as bait. Since I had to fix the lyrical fuck up on Fourth of July in the studio, I figured I'd just sing these new vocals on Swim Charlie, Swim while I'm there and offer this different version as well on the split.
"Since the above vocal work would have taken less than an hour in the studio, we started throwing around the idea of writing and recording more content to track that day, and possibly release a 10" instead of a 7" to accommodate it all. We talked to our label, Translation Loss Records, about the format change. They liked the idea, but said a 10" is practically the same cost as a 12", and so offered to release this as a full length, 12" split. Now we were free to go nuts."
photograph by Krystina Borland
"There are a lot of differences between the original Peter Benchley book, JAWS and the legendary movie we all know and love. The two biggest changes from book to script though are the omission of the affair between the characters Hooper and Ellen Brody - which paints Hooper as quite the piece of shit - and his eventual death in the shark cage (ne narrowly escapes in the movie). I've always found Hooper's death scene rather horrifying in the book. The way Benchley writes his demise is gruesome and brutal, giving the shark a level of malicious intent not conveyed in the earlier attacks.
"I've always regretted having not written more songs on The Great Fish that quoted the book instead of the film, so this was a great opportunity to do so. We crammed the month before our date at Louder Studios in Grass Valley, CA and with the help of master producer, Tim Green, we managed to bring to the surface two new, strange as fuck SQUALUS songs, "Violent Climax" and "Mass and Power". All the instrumental tracking was knocked out in one day, and we then returned in a couple weeks later for another day of vocals and mixing.
"Obviously the Mass and Power EP can be listened to on its own. But to further flesh out the story in The Great Fish..., insert these tracks into that album the following way; put "Fourth of July" in between "The Great Fish" and "Flesh, Bone, and Rubber" (tracks 1 and 2 respectively). Swap out the instrumental version of "Swim Charlie, Swim" (track 4) with this new one if you'd like. Then add "Violent Climax" after "City Hands" (track 7) and before "The Orca" (track 8). And finally place "Mass and Power" just before the finale, "He Ate the Light" (track 11).
"Are there more scenes in this timeless story for us to eventually cover? You bet your ass there is. By the time we're done, we'll have given you the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."