Kurokuma combine atmospheric soundscapes with doom heaviness. The band have played shows with the likes of Conan, Crowbar, and Boss Keloid, bringing their unsettling but captivating sound to new audiences. Their new EP ‘Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1’ crushes the listener’s face. The four songs on here are big, each one carrying their own distinctive flavour.
The EP begins with ‘RVN’, a track with a bassline similar to ‘Here Come the Bastards’ by Primus. Then the guitar storms in and there is a slow groovy bounce reminiscent of Crowbar. It keeps the listener hooked, and then the vocals come in. They transition from black metal screams to a hardcore punk rasp, and they work perfectly together. The track keeps you focused to see what the band will bring next.
‘Wasp Nest’ samples a wasp nest. The opening riff buzzes around you, building up the anger and fear that a wasp nest can cause. The song is based around this riff. It traps the listener in, the beating drums painting a gloomy picture of what lies ahead. It is executed really well, showing the passion that has gone into this EP.
The band say that this EP contains a dark intensity, along with influences from outside the metal circles. There is some truth to this. There is a cover of Jamiroquai’s song, ‘Deeper Underground.’ It’s ten minutes long. It’s a dark, murky assault on the ears. The gain on the guitars is cranked up, as is the distortion. At around the four-minute mark, a disgustingly heavy riff kicks in, as do the vocals. They are low in the mix, drowned out by the crashing drums and cymbals. The overdubbed guitars give the song a new lease of life; sounding nothing like the original. The cymbals are panned between the left and right headphones, as they take the listener on a trippy, uncomfortable journey. It is an enthralling listen.
Kurokuma bring influences from outside the doom metal circuit. ‘Wasp Nest (Memphis edit)’ is a rework of ‘Wasp Nest’, and features a heavily distorted synth bass. The track does well to match the intensity and feel of the original, but also shows their ability to break rules and boundaries.
The ideas on ‘Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1’ are executed to perfection. It’s aggressive, diverse, and unsettling. It shows Kurokuma’s exciting potential and leaves you wanting more.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos