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Crom - "Hot Sumerian Nights" (CD)

Crom - "Hot Sumerian Nights" CD cover image

"Hot Sumerian Nights" track listing:

1. Sons Of Set (1:46)
2. Grim Grey Gods (0:20)
3. Wee Hours Of The Snowgoat (2:14)
4. The Nightbreed (1:05)
5. Stygian (0:07)
6. Thorgrimm's Lament (1:31)
7. To Dwell In Blood (0:25)
8. The Lurker Within (1:38)
9. Wemon (1:38)
10. Battle Axe Butchery - Banned In B.C. (1:31)
11. Zamora (3:24)
12. The Horn Of Tiafa-Diop (1:02)
13. Sword Of Killer (1:32)
14. The Nightbreed (Reprise) (0:58)
15. Hot Summerian Nights (1:20)
16. Worms Of The Earth (1:02)
17. King Osric (0:51)
18. The Ballad Of Subotai (0:45)
19. Stygian (0:49)
20. Second Koming (1:54)
21. In The Year Of 13 Moons (1:32)
22. Book Of Thoth (8:16)

Reviewed by on May 2, 2008

"Fantomas meets Weedeater? A death metal Melvins? Conan grind?"

Here we have “Hot Sumerian Nights,” the second release from Californian band Crom. Who are Crom? Some bands are quite hard to describe simply because of the amount of nuances they include in their music, but thrash/sludge with a grindcore touch might not be a bad place to put your head for the start of our trip. But oh - did they stop there for this LP? No of course not, we can cram much more in!

The tracklist and album cover should tell you firmly we're in Viking territory - but these are not the vikings of the pagan north, rather "Conan The Barbarian" obsessed vikings with a penchant for lifting riffs from other bands. Confused? Well the musical side of the album is a mesh of sludge, grindcore, thrash and doom with a touch of everything else thrown into the mix. The distorted scream/shout vocals are definitely on the sludge side of things and the guitar sound also follows suit with a swampy buzz. However, this is not to say Crom is redefining any musical boundaries. More to the point, a lot of the musical material might be easy to pin sludge/grind if drawn out in a normal 10 track LP. But isn't normal - this is, of course, Crom.

The defining signature of this release is that the music is buried in a web of audio clips and quotes lifted from the 1982 film "Conan the Barbarian," sort of like an aural collage of varying metal riffs and samples that flow together in short succession. Even the name Crom has been taken from a fictional deity from the Conan mythology - but the cult trivia doesn't stop there. There are a multitude of lifted riffs and samples from the metal world, from the slow chant of "join us" from Slayers "Hell Awaits" to an oh-so familiar lick from a certain Megadeth track. Tie that together with weird ambient moments, sound effects and in-jokes galore and we have the guts of Crom.

The downside to this is if you're not a fan of this rather punky and humorous approach to albums you'll undoubtedly find a lack of actual tracks here - it's hard to find any songs that run over the minute mark without something jumping in. This is slightly disenchanting when some genuinely cool sludge metal tracks like "Zamoro" are on show and the album only reaches the 35 minute mark, of which a considerable amount is what some people might consider garbage.

Fantomas meets Weedeater? A death metal Melvins? Conan grind? - I could throw words at you all day but this is a metal montage that will sit well with metal trivia and Conan buffs alike.

Highs: Solid sludge mish-mash with bizzare interwoven movie and metal trivia

Lows: Lack of serious tracks limits this to grindcore/sludge fans with a sense of humor and a penchant for a certain barbarian

Bottom line: Will put a smile on the face of a small sect of grind/sludge fans, with a glazed face for everyone else

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)