Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Cauldron Black Ram - Stalagmire

Anyone who has not yet heard of Australia's infamous Cauldron Black Ram are unknowingly denying themselves a rare treat. The triumvirate have been lurking in the cavernous depths of the underground since 1996, but went largely unnoticed until their first full-length appeared in 2004. The group received minimal praise, as the album bypassed many radars; as did their lesser welcomed follow-up in 2010. Hoping to turn that around, enthusiastic hype surrounded the 2014 third installment, Stalagmire, which received an in-full stream on popular metal sites. Does this album stand up to the hype, or is it yet another over-empowered flop?

Genre: Black Metal, Death Metal
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
  1. Fork Through Pitch
  2. Maw
  3. Discarded Death
  4. A Litany of Sailors Sins
  5. Bats
  6. Cavern Fever
  7. From Whence the Old Skull Came
  8. The Devil's Trotters
  9. Speliogenesis
Total Playtime: 33 minutes, 01 seconds




Rating: 10/10





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Anyone who has not yet heard of Australia's infamous Cauldron Black Ram are unknowingly denying themselves a rare treat. The triumvirate have been lurking in the cavernous depths of the underground since 1996, but went largely unnoticed until their first full-length appeared in 2004. The group received minimal praise, as the album bypassed many radars; as did their lesser welcomed follow-up in 2010. Hoping to turn that around, enthusiastic hype surrounded the 2014 third installment, Stalagmire, which received an in-full stream on popular metal sites. Does this album stand up to the hype, or is it yet another over-empowered flop?

"Fork Through Pitch" is the gravelly vocalized cataclysmic start to the ensuing barbaric beat down of orthodox blackened death metal mayhem that is Stalagmire. The album is shrouded in a muffled, analog sound quality that causes the bass guitar and drum to boom like rolling thunder through the background; the authentic echo effect further enhances the cavern-like ambiance that ensnares each track. Both guitars have a soiled, gritty distortion, though the lead has a slightly differentiated tone that keeps the two from bleeding together; which makes it perfect for handling the small solos and bridges that are present.

As aforementioned, the content here is extremely orthodox, though not to the point of repetitive annoyance as that of Countess. The architectures are comprised of corruptive hooks that captivate the listener and bring them back for countless replays. From initiation, the sinister material has a demonic, occult premise that will leave audiences stricken with goosebumped flesh and chills along their spine. The cult quality of the album is instilled primarily via the vocals, which often switch from deep growls and semi-high shrills to echo-laden spoken chants; most notably within the ritualistic "From Whence the Old Skull Came" and "Speliogenesis".


The twang of the rhythm guitar really stands out during "Cavern Fever", which is one of the many tracks to feature a punk inspired structure; especially within the drums, which are a snare/hi-hat combination. Though many of the beats are your tried and true standard, the drumming within Stalagmire is fairly far reaching and the rhythms accentuate the material with ritualism; from the marching war drums during "Speliogenesis" to the drum and bass solo within "The Devil's Trotter" and even the deep tom-tom pounding and stick clacking that pervades "From Whence the Old Skull Came".

Stalagmire is a dust entombed relic, filled with ancient rituals and orthodox framework that will bewitch the listener. The compositions within the album are some of the most creative and ingenious of the year, Cauldron Black Ram have made an unforgettable beastly impression with their third installment. Though with that being said, it's going to be hard to top this effort; the band should definitely keep on this path, though, and learn to build new monoliths with it. With it's analog sound quality and ensuing authentic echo, the material sounds as though it was recorded in a nomadic cavern that has long been forgotten by modern man. One of the must hears of the year, pick up Stalagmire even if it means you must perform a blood sacrifice.

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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