Human Failure – Crown on the Head of a King of Mud (Caligari Records / Sentient Ruin, 07 May 2021)
Kataan – Kataan (Prosthetic Records, 07 May 2021)
Well here we are at the start of a new month, which of course means more new releases waiting for us! Today I’ve got two for you: each is the first release of the new project from an established musician or two, and each will be coming out THIS FRIDAY.
Oh yeah, and these may be relatively short (around 15-20 minutes each) but both are soul-crushingly devastating. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For starters, the evocatively titled Crown on the Head of a King of Mud is the debut of the solo venture of west-coast musician Daniel Cornejo (who is also half of Caligari alumnus Seventh Circle).
With Human Failure, the stated intent is “to be as brash and primitive as possible,” with an intriguing simultaneous writing/recording process. “Drums are recorded on the fly, guitar riffs are pieced together over the top in a haphazard manner and lastly noise is layered on top of it all in order to seal it all together sonically.”
This wild, reckless style seems to have lent itself rather well to the blast-filled world of blackened-death-grind, although from time to time (for example, the title track as well as closer “All Fall”) somewhat of a doom flavor seeps its way in. A very uptempo and noisy doom variant, of course.
The vocals here also mesh well with the musical chaos: Cornejo describes the lyrics themselves as “a minor concern,” having taken “a phrase or two and repeated them ad nauseam […] less of a recitation of poetry and more of an unfiltered and pure release of pent up anger, hate and dissatisfaction with the world around me.”
This typically manifests itself as an inhuman growl or roar, although one of the highlights here is during “Your Hope is a Noose” where that gets combined with hideous snarls and shrieks. Overall, the frantic performance combined with the constant bursts of feedback and abrasive noise perfectly captures that goal of primitivism and outward representation of internalized hatred and disgust.
Also for your listening pleasure today, we’ve got the inaugural EP by New England duo Kataan, consisting of Nick Thornbury (original guitarist/vocalist of Vattnet Viskar, whose self-titled EP also met with rave reviews on this very website, nine whole years ago) and Brett Boland (founding guitarist/vocalist of Astronoid, who has switched over to playing bass and drums for this new venture).
While Kataan has been described in the press as “modern death metal,” given the pedigree of its members’ current and former bands (which, incidentally, have shared or traded a few members with each other over the years), you might be expecting something with a bit more depth and atmosphere — and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Like the other record we discussed a few paragraphs ago, this concoction uses a variety of layers to produce a huge sound uncharacteristic of its small number of contributors. Generally, the vibe here is that of atmospheric black metal, as the riffs and drums tend toward that “Flight of the Bumblebee” staccato/tremolo type of rhythms. But the material goes far beyond the constraints of a single genre or subgenre.
As a couple examples, penultimate song “Processor” begins and ends in a somewhat thrashier vein, while closer “Vessel” displays more and more prog tendencies as it rolls along. In a broader sense, across all these tracks the listener will find examples of melody and ambient harmonics, as well as moments of epic clean singing set atop the overarching viciousness — although very minor-key, melancholic examples of each of these.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *