Fragmentado / Maldecir – Split Tape
A 13-track split from two bands representing Chile's DIY punk scene.
As always, things are a colossal mess in Chile. An election is coming and people from all sides are moving motivated by fear, be it of the always gentle iron fist of neoliberal fascism or of one caused by delusions about communism repeated through the wounds that the 1973 coup left on the country, that big strip of land that looks just like one. It’s all continuation of history, the same one each one of us carries like a sack full of misery оn our backs while we drag our feet in the mud.
For better or for worse, music can transcribe that history into echoes or ghosts that appear in front of us each time we dare to call them. Punk’s been doing that since it started, even if the people behind it didn’t knew that at the time, like they were just being pulled by an strange force from the outside, and abstraction that filled their bodies and made them move and act in the way they did, paving the same streets many more would step on, while being attracted by the same vibrant energy. I think that’s why we are here, me writing this and you reading it, because of that transcendent connection that, to this day, keeps on developing. With that in mind I want to check out the release I have for you today, because it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the lyrics, you’ve certainly felt many of the things, that they convey through other means before.
This split was first uploaded on October 1st on each band’s Bandcamp page, but was later re-released digitally by the Chilean label Activar hazlotumismx on December 1st and will soon would be available on a limited tape run.
The A side of the split is by Fragmentado, a grind-punk trio from Santiago, Chile, who previously released two albums: Diagnosis Kathastrophe in March of 2020, a nine-track live album of a performance given that same month, and Sobre la roca, their ten-track demo album from 2019. The B side is by Maldecir, a dark punk four-piece from Concepción formed in 2010 who released their self-titled debut album in 2016, although they first released a split in 2014 with the band Presunta Desgracia, from the same region. They also have a live album, Invasión contra el capital, released in 2016 and recorded in Curicó, Maule.
Fragmentado’s side is an energetic outburst of frantic violence, low grunts and piercing yells, fast beats, sudden tempo changes and a heavy, gnawing ambience of tense discomfort and uneasiness. It comes rapidly, furious, just like a raging, charging beast, but despite being very brief and concise it takes its time to carefully develop its sounds. Grindcore, powerviolence, crust punk, all blended together in a hardcore punk mixer that distorts, stretches and melts everything until the songs become a shapeless blob that drips like dirt from your body.
The B side is as beastly as the A side, opening with a raw and sharp anti-cop track. Mixing grind and punk as well, Maldecir is way more crusty and thrashier, with the vocals leaning to a gritty and somewhat cavernous tone and the riffs and beats crossing into a metal-filled landscape in songs like “El avance de la insignificancia” (The Progress of Insignificance) and “Egoismo dominante” (Dominant Selfishness), both speaking about authority, identity, violence, the state and society itself. These topics are handled in various ways throughout the release and its continuous explosive moments. “Terrorismo inmobiliario” (Real Estate Terrorism) closes the split with a classic one-minute crust punk tune set to environmentally focused lyrics that question the concept of progress, capitalism and our relationship with nature.
Seeing two similar bands’ takes on the same genres is always entertaining and fascinating to me, because they are not the same, despite what you might think at first. They can’t be. In cases like this, the little details, the difference in approaches and experiences, in the way they create and express themselves, is what constitutes the core of the release. The same history is repeated differently each time and the way they resonate in each of us, and the band members, is also divergent. There are some obvious distinctions, of course, like the vocals or the way the instruments were recorded, but there’s also something in the spirit they have, that sonic manifestation of their passion and their will that took form in this album. Even when they talk about the same things, even when you can feel they have been infected by the same wounds, what comes out of their flesh points to separate locations. There’s always something to find, something to look for and to learn if you take your time and dwell in it, while also comparing what people different from you took from the same experience.