Noise rock/post-hardcore bands Vagrant Beat and Zapano have quite a focused attack plan on their 2012 split EP available at Bandcamp. With precise bursts of noise and a joyful sense of abandon and mischief, both groups should impress fans of Botch, Drive like Jehu, Refused, Fugazi, Torche, and Future of the Left.

Vagrant Beat really know how to craft engaging and interesting post-hardcore, and that’s a difficult thing to do. It’s because they focus on the songs themselves, and there’s a punk and rock and roll soul to this project. The amount of dynamics shown on “The Perils of Living” and “Ipso Facto” made me want a full-length album. I could hear everything from Drive like Jehu/Hot Snakes to the Mars Volta, and no aspect was over-done. The drums provide a steamroller feel that foreshadows what Vagrant Beat can do. The bass has a very unique Afro-beat flavour and it really adds serious movement. The vocals change from full on screams to manic melodic singing and even spoken word, all of which are done well. Guitar-wise, let’s just say if you like prog and hardcore, you’ll find some serious ear candy. Highly recommend.

Zapano start off with more of a deranged Sabbath and Pink Floyd meet jazz rock feel, and it’s one hell of a jam. The vocals are refreshingly off their rocker, and it elevates the whole insanity of the piece. Musically, this is something you can truly dive into, with so much happening you pretty much have to just close your eyes and soak it in. The layering of atmospheres is in my view the most impressive aspect of Zapano. The psychedelic guitars cover so much territory over the 7 minute track length of “Five, Six, and the Serpent Vine” that I’d hesitate to think of a riff that was left out! Musically, this is a band who are focused on creating a mood…together. No self-indulgence makes for a powerful unit. Once again, I have to highly recommend this.

I’m pretty blown away by this release, and it’s certainly going to inspire me to try to find other bands like this.

Buy the Vagrant Beat side.

Buy the Zapato side.

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