To an outsider, the last few months could be perceived as being a tumultuous period in the bowl. The editors have been frequently disappearing on unknown ventures, new faces have appeared, Dubya crossed the thrashold, the warrior known as Randall Thor has resurfaced and, after MoshOff’s hostile take-over of the coveted TovH Mini-Reviews position, threats of further uprisings were rumoured. Today, it may appear that the resident reptilian has staged a coup d’état and taken them for his own. Fortunately, this is mostly just a load of malarkey and I just couldn’t wait to release these mini-reviews into the æther.
I originally wrote this piece for Spear’s excellent This Toilet Tuesday column last week, until he informed me that I had indeed stuffed up royally and written about the wrong “Cult” band releasing an album in late January 2016. Cultus – Cultist, how the fuck could I get those releases mixed up right? Well, Cultus play death/doom, and the band I’m reviewing, Cultist, don’t. Confused yet? Ok, I guess it’s just me who assumes bands with ostensibly the same name wouldn’t happen to be releasing albums within a week or so of each other. So damn dumb, it’s dumn. Anyway, here’s what I had down for Cultist; it’s the unabridged version because
I’m lazy… I’m lazy.
Fuzzy-edged stoner/psych rock featuring members of Skeletonwitch, Howl and Mockingbird? For me, that’s enough to warrant a cursory listen. The debut release from Cultist titled Three Candles is a five-track retro affair which is as relaxed as the denim-fit that its intended demographic are synonymous with. Laid-back riffing with a Baroness-esque tone, bluesy bass lines, rudimentary percussion and vocals that should please Sabbath supporters… you probably already know whether or not this will appeal to you. The last track, “Eternal Dark” is my stand-out choice, as it wanders the off the path slightly and ventures through the haze left behind by bands such as Witch. While this EP won’t exactly set the crops ablaze, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and might help to tide over those of you eagerly awaiting that new Red Fang.
On A Playlist With: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Orchid, Horisont.
This release from my hometown/city (Sydney, Australia) appeared on my radar on Tuesday this week out of nowhere and as with all Art As Catharsis Records releases, I’m obliged to give it a listen as they have quickly became my favourite label for progressive and unusual bands/albums. Kurushimi’s self-titled debut is just that: unusual. After taking a quick glance at the exotic artwork on the cover and pushing play, I was immediately put outside my comfort zone and ended up being taken on a 79 minute journey through avant-garde free-form jazz.
The blurb on their bandcamp page reads as follows –
The mysterious collective Kurushimi take listeners through a dark and deranged sonic journey on their Art As Catharsis debut.
This heavily improvised release pushes the boundaries of deconstructionist noise-jazz with departures into doom, grindcore, prog, dub and hip hop. The result is something like the unholy congress of Ornette Coleman, Morbid Angel, Bill Laswell, John Zorn and Bohren & Der Club Of Gore.
Now although it may appear that this is just some esoteric oddity that doesn’t quite belong on a metal-orientated website, I urge you to persevere to at least catch some of the heavy moments scattered throughout the release. When they do arise, they have an aggressive unhinged yet also thoroughly compelling quality which I think is sorely lacking in much of the music we consume here on the day-to-day. This is surely no doubt related to the fact that the majority of this release was improvised among the 6 band members.
Also, while I’m on the topic, seems Art As Catharsis have recently placed their entire 48 album label discography on 25% discount as owner/manager Lachlan (TovH interview here) is going away to Tibet with no return ticket! So if you have a penchant for progressive, psychedelic music or just like supporting the little-guys of this world, check it out here.
A few weeks ago TovH legend Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple informed us of a debut release from a 2-piece Dutch black metal band named Witte Wieven. This 3-track EP titled Silhouettes of an Imprisoned Mind piqued my interest immediately. To be fair, it was always going to with his description of “Dutch BM with occasional haunting female vocals” sitting above it. This release has been played on my stereo at least 3 times a week since.
Don’t let the moody and seemingly restrained opening track fool you; this album does have some quite intense moments. For the most part it oscillates between the textured sounds of something like Drudkh combined with the dynamic nature of a band such as Tempel (TovH interview). Carmen’s vocals are as ephemeral as they are ethereal, and neither dominate or get lost in the composition. For those awaiting the intensity I mentioned before, the main riff in the title track (track 2) should not disappoint. “Faces Of Unreality” (track 3) continues the crescendo and is most likely going to be the track that will win you over.
There are only really two problems I have with this debut offering, the first being a minor gripe with the production/mixing. Throughout the course of the EP the guitars (particularly the distorted riffing) feel slightly thin tone-wise. Thankfully, this is not the case for the drums, which sound full and powerful to my ears. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of the two that makes it seem a little off but whatever, it’s hardly a major concern, especially on a debut EP. The second problem is that the 15 minute run-time has left me craving MOAARRR! Looks like this release will be the one to tide me over until the next Lotus Thief album.