Brothers in Christ by Chat Pile and Nerver

Release date: April 14, 2023
Label: Reptilian Records / The Ghost Is Clear Records

I think it’s fair to say Chat Pile swung out of nowhere, colliding with considerable force into 2022. Their debut God’s Country brought a thrilling mix of noise and despair that resonated widely. It topped Echoes and Dust’s album of the year list and made respectable appearances on many others. As the band get ready to head over to Europe this summer, here’s a good old fashioned split release, with their Brothers in Christ, to keep us all from getting too antsy about a new album.    

Holding up the other end here are Nerver. Who are pretty much what you’d expect a band on a split like this to sound like. By which I mean they bring a complementary serving of prowling ugly sludge punk noise to the table to show they are indeed Chat Pile’s Brothers in Christ. They’re from Kansas city which allows us European types to briefly marvel at US geography on a couple of counts. Being a mere five hour(!) drive away up tornado alley they’re relatively close neighbours to Chat Pile. Yet despite the states having all that room, Kansas city is somehow in two, both Kansas and Missouri. Why wouldn’t it be?

Being the other half of a split with a celebrated band of the moment can be both a blessing and a curse but having already established a more modest reputation themselves (check out last year’s great Cash album) I think Nerver are likely on the ‘reach a few more people who will like what they do’ end of that deal. ‘Kicks in the Sky’ is harsh and weighty and allegedly something to do with those long rides in vans. ‘The Nerve’ has fighting drums that pummel you while the other three rage around wailing.


Since God’s Country Chat Pile have released the Tenkiller soundtrack, revealing an unexpected gift for shit kickin’ bar room country on ‘Lake Time’, but here we find them back home in their noise rock trousers. Vocalist Raygun Busch says these songs are inspired by Stephen King. ‘King’ seems a lot calmer after the Nerver tunes, less combative, with Busch’s wounded vocal limping among the clatter and guitar shards. There are a number of subtle differences that elevate Chat Pile and his clean vocal style and lyrical wit are certainly one. This tune’s relationship to its namesake author comes later in the hazy “Reading books in the afternoon, getting drunk in the afternoon” bit after, which he repeats “I don’t want you to know” about fifty times.

Saving the best for last ‘Cut’ brings a dose of heartland horror. Slouching onwards despite itself into “the quiet of the woods” to the “place everything changed”. You know no good can come of it. The track’s general uneasiness is punctured by furious bursts of guitar that only rack up the tension while Busch sounds like a man dragging the weight of some obliterating horror with him. It’s an absolute winner.   

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