[€4 // https://diazepamnoise.bandcamp.com/album/exu-shiver]
The only things I really knew about Diazepam as a label going into this release is that they put out cassettes by both Nundata and Raven, who are two of my obvious favorites but at the same time they both have numerous releases so this could go either way but I'm giving Diazepam the benefit of the doubt going in and assuming this will be good. Not knowing either of these artists going into this cassette doesn't matter as both of them prove to be wonderful.
Side A is Exu and it begins with electronic crashes in loops. String-like tones come out in progression and then we are met with harsh feedback. There is this sound of electricity and then these banging beats which are a virtual thunderstorm complete with lightning that you can actually hear. This is beginning to sound like harsh noise, yet it is not the harshest of noise that I have heard. After some talking there are these building industrial loops in a sort of mechanical sense. It's odd to say but the rhythm does remind me in some ways of a version of the song "Du Hast" and I'm fine with that. As the pace picks up there is this sort of speak-singing inside the static loops and the story here is how well this has progressed since the start and just transformed into some kind of different monster than it was at the start, yet it has done so in such a smooth way that you wouldn't believe it to be possible.
On the flip side we have Shiver who is possibly a little more harsh than Exu. It begins with knocking and these sort of sci-fi laser sounding electric guitar loops. As the music grows heavier, closer to metal even, the sound of background screaming emerges. This is flat out pained screams, like someone has hurt him badly. It reminds me of something between I Like You Go Home and Dhampyr so obviously I'm in love with it immediately. Pieces of that feedback ala "In Utero" era Nirvana mixed with their song "School" come out as well as talking clips, but by the end somehow it has this quieter vibe. It's not quite as quiet as many other artists get because you still know it's there, you can still feel it, but it is somewhat quiet in comparison to what was happening earlier on.
So really Exu and Shiver share similar qualities in a broad sense, but on the whole they are two fairly different artists yet can both be appreciated by those with like music tastes. This reminds me a lot of the Distant Trains/I Like You Go Home split cassette, if only based on the pairing, and that makes it right up there with the other classics.