Formed in 2010, with a demo in 2011, Albany’s Concrete seemed to have avoided my attention until the summer of 2013 when I was delivered their first full length, Deadlock. For whatever reason, I expected some working class/semi-oi flavor of hardcore but was pleasantly surprised when I found myself listening to a more traditional, yet heavier hardcore that fell in a category somewhere between Strength For A Reason and Terror. For this split, it seems that they have shown just enough growth without ruining their sound. While they stuck pretty close to the game plan from Dealock, there is a noticeable extra oomph to these 4 songs. There is more chug to the breakdowns, more speed to the fast parts, and have an occasional metallic riff sprinkled in here and there. For all intents and purposes, it appears that they have really settled in with writing and I’ll be interested in seeing if they can either build on this or write a full length full of songs of this nature.

On the 2nd half of the split, California’s Hammerfist made it easier for me. Instead of trying to change things up, they have kept their sound identical for each of their releases. These songs could have easily been placed on either Dead Dreams or Isolation and I wouldn’t have noticed a difference. Hammerfist is a fitting name as they pack quite the punch with their brand of West Coast heavy hardcore. If the Hoods and Hatebreed were to create a band, they would be Hammerfist. The production is top notch as always and they should probably never record with anyone else than whomever they have for all their releases. It’s a bummer that I can’t go off on a long winded diatribe about these guys but they come out guns blazing and you get the idea just after one song.

As far as splits are concerned, they seem to get a love/hate response. I personally dig them and this one is no difference. Two bands that I dig for the price of one? Sign me up. Also, I think this was a great decision for both bands as it can open up new doors for each. Both seem to fly just under the radar of hype and using each other’s fanbase can hopefully push them into the spotlight they deserve. This split comes highly recommended.