Cauldron Black Ram - "Stalagmire" (CD)
"Stalagmire" track listing:
1. Fork Through Pitch
3. Discarded Death
4. A Litany Of Sailors Sins
6. Cavern Fever
7. From Whence The Old Skull Came
8. The Devil's Trotters
Reviewed by Rex_84 on May 16, 2014
Cauldron Black Ram's motto could be "Australian and anti-Christ" if a band had not already taken that description. In name alone, these Aussies conjure images of hooded figures giving praise to a black goat around a boiling cauldron set for spells. "Stalagmire" marks an unholy trinity of releases by the group comprised of members from Mournful Congregation, StarGazer, and Misery's Omen. Whether it's black ambiance, low-end death metal, or mournful doom, each musician brings pieces of his band's sound to the album.
"Fork Through Pitch" is a cleverly worded song title that tells each listener what to expect. The group moves slowly at the start, creating a circuitous movement between each line. Each movement seems to be a collection of energy that is slightly released during a finger tapped part, but is ultimately builds toward the NWOBHM that comes in around the :45 second mark. "The Devil's Trotters" is a title that dictates movement. Here the band incorporates a slick, trotting bass-and-drum beat that harks back to early millennial tunes from Danzig and Marilyn Manson, but with a chorus of growls and shrieks too harsh to find its way on the albums of either artist.
The instrumental "Cavern Fever" showcases the band's down-tuned guitar sound. This track begins with alternating drum beats from Esh and guitarist Alim stays with the medium pace even during blast beats, but performs a solo around the 1:50 mark, which opens the speed just a bit. "A Litany of Sailor's Sins" opens with an intense segment of pounding drums and a gritty guitar lick. This opening rhythm churns and bends as more evil choirs enter the foray.
"Discarded Death" is another downward churner that unravels in a descending scale. The grunted vocals here remind of early black incarnations such as Beherit, but the band offers more dynamics than Beherit, which arrive during a fast part and an ambient wind-down. Check out "From Whence The Old Skull Came" and "Speliogenesis" for more ritualistic experimentation. Listen to the latter track for about a minute to find the type of depressive doom Mournful Congregation is known for.
"Stalagmire" is thick in production and ambiance. The recording primarily moves at a doomed pace, so fans of death-doom such as Autopsy and Incantation should dig this recording. There are no riffs repeated to boring results, though, and the band keeps each composition dynamic in pace through a three-way chorus of growls, barks, moans and echoing shrieks--all the while maintaining a blackened atmosphere. While speed bursts are apparent, it's better to look elsewhere for a blast fest. Still, the crossing of styles should find favor with a wide variety of extreme metal heads.
Highs: From minimal cymbal work to a choir of harsh voices, Cauldron Black Ram exudes evil.
Lows: The recording could use a few more speed bursts.
Bottom line: Cauldron Black Ram's stylistic crossings should appeal to a wide variety of extreme metal heads.
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