Split Personalities

Pagan Fire/Cumsock

Split CD

SkullFucking Metal Records, 2006

Review by Kent Manthie

This split CD by The Philippines’ Pagan Fire and Canada’s Cumsock is a whirligig of SPEED/death metal (they say there’s a difference but there really isn’t) – the first four cuts, which are by Pagan Fire, which are all about 5 minutes long and then there’s the more thrashing, cutting sound of Cumsock, which reminds me a little bit of the first days of Husker Du-when they were still searching for a direction and tended to be on this side of the fence of hardcore, a la their recorded-live debut, Land Speed Record, which is unlike anything they ever did after that (even though Everything Falls Apart and Metal Circus (sans “Diane”) were loud, fast and furious).  Cumsock’s songs are all really short, just like a lot of tunes by hardcore bands back in the early 80s:  FEAR, MDC, The Exploited, Subhumans, DRI and so on… (if you think I left out Black Flag you’re wrong, because a lot of Black Flag tunes were longer-not ‘Long’ long, but 4-5 minutes, with a lot of grungy, grating guitar solos by frontman, Greg Ginn.

So, what am I saying?  Well, just that the 1st four tunes are serious, no-holds-barred ominous uber-metal, whereas the remaining 19 Cumsock tunes range from the “as-fast-as-we-can” to the alcohol-tinged goof-offs, which have these loose finishes – endings that have these raving asides to epithet-filled messages, etc.

Although this was part of a package of CDs I got from SkullFucking Metal Records, it looks like there’s some kind of thing going on with another label, Sewer Records, but I’m not sure who’s on what here…

A few songs to sort of give you a feel of what the album’s all about:  Two out of the four Pagan Fire songs are “Terminator” and “To Haunt, To Kill, To Devour” – the other two are in Tagalog, the Filipino language and I’m not going to try to spell them out here, especially since I have no idea what they mean (not that it matters).  Then, when you get to the Cumsock part of this split CD, there are some interesting tunes by them too:  “No Religion” is a good one; it’s not a complex Nietzschean argument against the idea of religion, etc, but rather a good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll “fuck you”.  Songs #7 and 8 go together well:  No. 7 is titled “Ohhhh” and No. 8 is “Uhhhhh”.  But, I’d have to say that my favorites on the Cumsock part is “Screams of Pain” and “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck”, subtle as a sledgehammer.

To tell you the truth, I really don’t know how these two bands got together in the first place, except that the label maybe put them together and decided to make a split CD on their own.   The thing is that Pagan Fire and Cumsock don’t seem very congruent.  The former is a rather humorless and combustible outfit; with possibly political overtones (they dedicate their part of the album to the victims of the tsunami in 2006).  Whereas Cumsock seem to have a more party animal style:  their music has a vibe that is a premeditated party of kegger proportions.

Cumsock has the kind of kick-back, slack attitude that one needs in order to ward off stress and anger, whereas Pagan Fire is a hellraising band that wants to march in the street and shout at oppressors.  Good intentions, but all anger and no levity makes Johnny a stroke-waiting-to-happen.    -KM


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