Split System, the Aussie group featuring Jackson Reid Briggs (Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters) on vocals and Arron Mawson (Stiff Richards) on guitar, took the punk world by storm with its debut EP this past spring. That was hardly surprising given the talent involved.
But whatever my expectations were for Split System, the Melbourne-based outfit far exceeded them. Not just another “super group” (also on board are guitarist Ryan Webb [Speed Week], bassist Deon Slaviero, and drummer Mitch McGregor [No Zu]), Split System is straight-up one of the most powerful and exciting punk rock and roll bands of recent memory. The band’s EP was a smasher, and now debut album Vol. 1 emphatically follows suit. My god, this record is a monster!
Essentially Split System’s sound is classic Aussie punk. That may sound like nothing new, but this band executes the style with a force and fury rarely heard these days.
It doesn’t hurt that Jackson Reid Briggs is one of the best rock and roll screamers going. He’s got a fire inside of him. Meanwhile, Mawson and Webb form one hell of a guitar tandem. And that rhythm section is insane. These are all brilliant players who come together to make an extraordinary band. Vol. 1 comes storming out of the gates with “The End” and never lets up. Of course we knew some of the previously-released tracks (“Hit Me,” “Demolition,” “Climbing”) were going to rip. But the newer material is just as good and will just about melt your face off. Songs like “Ringing In My Head” and “Grip” are pure energy and ferocity, while closing track “Feelings” has a mellowed-out Saints feel. This band knows how to rock and roll, and there are literally no songs on this album that don’t entirely kick ass.
Sometimes we think of these all-star groups as “side projects,” but such categorization would sell Split System woefully short. If we’re talking about the top three or four punk bands in Australia right now, this has to be one of them!
Josh Rutledge/ Faster and Louder