These two Missouri bands make it hard to pick a favorite on this sharp, short split tape. On the A-side, PROTON from the city of Columbia unleashes their brutal brand of D-beat hardcore. A lo-fi bludgeoning that cranks the speed and ferocity of the traditional DISCHARGE formula up to “holy shit” levels, it’s raw, but not noise, keeping it squarely in punk territory and never crossing into metal, which is kinda perfect. These three pounding jams make a great appetizer for indulging in their scorching Imminent Collapse EP from earlier this year and 2021’s Men Behind the Sun cassette. Next is Kansas City’s TOTAL SHAM, and god, do they rule. Refreshing like an ice-cold 22oz of Olde English, I tell ya. Just a pure early hardcore sound, like Group Sex-era CIRCLE JERKS spiked with Pick Your King-era POISON IDEA and delivered with a palpable practice spot ambiance. Their tunes on this tape are addictive little rippers that get my head bobbing involuntarily every time, and their full length Life as a Total Sham cassette is an instant classic, offering nine more killer songs where these came from. This is all some of the coolest stuff I’ve heard in a while, and if you’ve caught me spazzing out behind the wheel of my car lately, these bands are the likely culprits.