Cleveland’s Fistula might not be a household name to more casual fans of sludge metal. But they’ve been spreading their brand of caustic misery since the late 90’s, and suffice to say, they’ve made a few friends along the way. These two splits, released simultaneously on the band’s own Patac Records, see them share the wax with a couple well-known names in the scene—L.A.’s long-running misanthropes -(16)- and legacy outfit Come to Grief, featuring former members of Boston bashers Grief.
Come To Grief / Fistula split EP
The Come to Grief/Fistula split features original material from both artists, so let’s start with that one. Come to Grief takes Side A with “Take Me in My Sleep,” six and a half minutes of super-slow-mo suffering. This song offers little in the way of tempo changes or decipherable vocals, but fits the 90’s sludge blueprint to its exact specifications. Fistula’s contribution, “Contusion,” starts off in similar downtrodden fashion, and meanders along a similarly dark, twisted path, albeit with a more mid-paced approach past the 3:30 mark for about a minute or so. Both sides cut deep — I actually didn’t know you could put 12 minutes of music on a 7-inch.
-(16)- / Fistula split EP
The split with -(16)- features two covers, with the guests taking on Killing Joke’s “Complications” and the home side putting its twisted signature on Devo’s “Mongoloid.” I’m not intimately familiar with either of the originals, but I can say that -(16)- offers up a mid-paced industrial dirge with a slow, heavy chorus that makes me want to seek out the Killing Joke version. And Fistula actually makes Devo sound pretty hardcore with this fist-pounding rendition. Probably worth a few more spins…