Witchrite / Kronstadt – Split LP Review

Ok, I know that I’m a bit late with this one, as this split is going around for quite a while already. Still, it’s always time to write about music. Both Witchtrite and Kronstadt are pretty well known in punk underground, so it was not that much of a surprise when they announced their split.

And let me start with Witchrite’s side. It’s noisy, dirty, chaotic and very raw. Just as it should be. The band has already mastered the art of mixing crust punk and thrash metal, and they deliver a couple of short, but extremely violent songs. Witchrite has it’s own, very characteristic style and they clearly improved during the years. It’s also worth noticing how good the lyrics are – extremely straightforward and targeted into the topics that punk should scream about. Probably the only flaw of this material is the fact that drums and vocals are way too loud, making guitars almost gone in some parts – but from the other hand, it intensifies the record, so is it really a disadvantage after all?

After 8 tracks of Witchrite’s pure madness comes Kronstadt and well….. it’s not a thing for me. Objectively speaking, it’s arranged and played in a really good way, but it’s not a thing, that I enjoy. Kronstadt is heavily influneced by black metal (or actually they’re black metal band influenced by hardcore), and everyone who knows me is aware of how much I hate that genre. But putting my personal preferences asside – the compositions are good (although a bit too repetetive) and both the production and heavy reverb on vocals are just the part of band’s stylistics. And I still got a feeling that Kronstadt are more willing to explore different regions of music than other black-inspired bands. Is it objectively good? Yes, it is. Do I enjoy it? No. Despite that, Kronstadt really shines in terms of lyrics – they’re clearly connected with the history, but they way they are written is very good. I didn’t know that to expect at first, but it turned out to be a really impressive gem.

Let’s say also a few words about the release itself – usually splits go to 7′ or 10′ vinyl, seeing it on 12′ was a bit of a surprise. But all the graphics (especially the wonderful cover art) are amazing. Labels on the vinyl itself are also mind blowing. I highly appreciate the fact, that every single graphical element on this release tells you a story or show some symbols, this way it exceeds beyond being something which is just “cool looking”. Witchrite/Kronstadt split has to be one of the best looking punk releases I’ve seen in years, and that should tell you a lot!

And that’s how the split should be done. Both bands putting hard work to create high-quality material (instead of just using split as a “leftover platform” as some bands tend to do), great attention to the details in release and strong lyrics. Witchrite’s and Kronstadt’s shared release shows great respect to the listener and a middle finger to everything wrong in the society. It’s a greatly released material with two bands from different areas of noise. And what else should I say? No speed, no punk. Highly recommended.