Nervous SS / Rat Cage – Skopje Vs. Sheffield
North Macedonia and the UK meet on this raw punk split.
Skopje Vs. Sheffield, a split record released 15th March 2021 by Nervous SS from Skopje, the capital of the Balkan country now called North Macedonia, and Rat Cage from Sheffield, UK. Both bands play a furiously fast style of d-beat hardcore, for fans of Totalitär or Warcollapse, for example.
The Nervous SS side opens with “Putrid Stench”, which wastes no time at all kicking the record off as they mean to go on: grimy guitar tones over driving beats and throat shredding vocals, even a wailing guitar solo makes an appearance. “Mortal Disdain” makes use of a bass intro to allow the beats to come back in with a punch, before “Despair” changes the pace a little using more of an old school hardcore beat, relieving any worries this would be a stagnant listen. “Gloom” uses long stretched out vocal wretches to punctuate the grinding riffs and “Deprivation of Knowledge” provides another classic d-beat banger to the record.
Last track on the Nervous SS side sees them pay homage to older generation Macedonian punk band New Police State with their caustic version of “Мртов Војник” (Dead Soldier).
Rat Cage open their side with “Hypocrite City”, a song that gets straight to the action with filthy guitar tones and raspy shouted vocals over the incessant beats. “Lost and Scared” introduces some shout along gang vocals and a stomping breakdown before “Two To Eight” picks up the pace and smashes through its brief length only to speed up even more for the final crescendo. “Weapon Desire” continues the crusty onslaught until “Persecution” slows things down a little and sees Rat Cage fill a vaster sonic scope.
They also finish their side with a take on the old school punk coming from their country. In this case, Rat Cage’s take on UK Subs classic “Emotional Blackmail”, bringing their own style to the track while respecting the original.
In conclusion, Skopje Vs. Sheffield is a relentless whirlwind of a split, both bands will surely appeal to each other’s fans and at only around 20 minutes in length, it absolutely flies by, making you want to listen again straight away!