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I'm The Devil And I'm Ok is the second album from Trans-Atlantic group Split Cranium featuring Faith Coloccia (Mamiffer, Mara), Aaron Turner (Mamiffer, Sumac, Old Man Gloom), Nate Newton (Converge, Doomriders, Old Man Gloom), Tomi Leppänen (Circle, K-X- P) and Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle). Their eponymous 2012 debut was an exhilarating barrage of super-charged hardcore, replete with blitzkrieg riffing, stampeding pace, and gravel-throated ire, a ferocious homage to Nordic d-beat masters Terveet Kädet and Anti Cimex.
Six years later, their second effort comparatively explores the contrasts of melody and dissonance, opening the album with Popol Vuh-inspired keyboards by Coloccia that saturate the ruthless reinterpretation of the Discharge template on "Evil Hands." The contrasting breaths of sublime ambience serve to highlight the savagery abetted by Newton and Leppänen (Circle, K-X- P), making I'm The Devil And I'm Ok simultaneously more sonically rounded, more visceral and more vicious.
While Split Cranium continues to be driven by the blazing guitar malaise of Lehtisalo and the harrowing bellows of Turner, the melodic counterpoint provided by Newton on "Wet Shadow," the ethereal vocals summoned by Coloccia on "Ingurgitated Liquids" and "Death Bed – The Yellow Room," and the squalls of white noise on "Whirling Dusk" are but a few of the components that knock I'm The Devil And I'm Ok off the axis of traditional d-beat hard core.
Some of 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 mind-melter in a realm of sterile imitations.