These two bands from Baltimore, MD, are some of the most talented young bands I've ever worked with. Dead Gods, labeled by A389 Recordings as "Baltimore's Sons of Evil," play dark, furious, evil hardcore that would make Ringworm shudder. On the other end, Call Me A Dreamer offers two heavy, heavy tracks, turning to a more aggressive sound than their previous efforts (which were more melodic in nature). In short, this split makes Anton LaVey look like a bitch.

With the exception of "II.I.V," a noise track--which follows in theme with their previous release's numbering system--Dead Gods brings to the table two vicious, frantic dark, metallic hardcore tracks that bring to mind bands like Ringworm, Pulling Teeth (less shred), and The Banner. Being a fan of all three of those bands, both "Dreamer" and "Soulless" ripped me a new one. Also, holy shit, Alissa Straiter (of Passengers) does guest vocals on "Soulless" and, motherfuckingshit, I can't get over how good they are. From start to finish, Dead Gods' side of the split is meant to be played as one, 9:48 track in three parts, and it's the most cohesive, evil shit I've ever heard in my life. Showing full and complete mastery of mood, through the technicality of their instruments and vocals, this split is not so much a piece of music as an ode to the Dark Lord, and a conversion tactic. If you like Dark Hardcore/Metal, you're going to love this. Period.

Call Me A Dreamer give us something a little different, but no less welcome. More in the lines of heavy, straight-forward hardcore (with tinges of Dark Hardcore), these boys offer up "Dead" and "Self//Less" as a sacrifice, and I am well-pleased.

"Dead" begins with a fastcore/powerviolence intro, and rages through a full minute before a heavy, syncopated, "The Wolves, they pester me. The dark circles around my eyes grow darker, darker, darker still," before ending on the haunting, "No sleep. Dead." Less than a minute and a half, this song rips right through and into "Self//Less," with it's slow, dark opening. After 40 seconds of crunching guitar, a slow, dual vocal part comes up with is the sickest shit I've heard in awhile. Ending with a groovy-as-hell, heavy riff that jams like the prayers you never got answered.

This split just makes me want to piss in a Starbucks sink, while smashing my face against the mirror until I pass out in my own piss and blood. Maybe that's just me. Who's to say?

I review Maryland bands very frequently, which is awesome, but that also means the rest of you need to get your shit together. Maryland is on top.