Canadian Rifle take steady three-chord tunes, soak them in cement, wrap them in barbed wire, and downshift them an octave on this most recent release, continuing further down the darker path they moved toward with 2010’s Facts EP. As of late, there are more mean, mean hooks rumbling here. Sonically, “Fire” and “Born” are walled-in with thick, glugging bass and gnarled-out call-and-response guitars to the point that the singing emerges almost as secondary to the drum and guitar. The vocals are melodic roars and shouts that layer up the beauty built by the instrumentation. I likedFacts, but this shit is superb. If Canadian Rifle is the weight of solid, overcast skies, Zapiain, fine punks of Yorkshire, play comparatively brighter melodic punk, although here the difference is illuminative and doesn’t diminish from the split as a whole. The bands complement each other. The unrushed hooks of “You Always Said It Was” and “Scapegoat” feature a band that’s happy to swish between palm-muted charges and rollicking open song. They’ve drawn numerous comparisons to Blue Medic and even a less rhythmically rigid Bad Religion, but I’m hearing a best-of amalgamation of ‘90s punk groups that, in the case of Zapiain, has distinguished itself by taking time. In one hopeful lament, the singer notes that, “I know you’ve heard this song / A million times before” and if that’s true, it sounds good, possibly better than before. Dig it.
–Jim Joyce (All In Vinyl)