Squidhead – Cult[ist]

“There are horrors beyond life’s edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man’s evil prying calls them just within our range.” [H.P. Lovecraft, The Thing on the Doorstep]

It is more than curiosity which fuels the imagination and predacious captivation of the debut album from Squidhead. Inspired by the darkest depths of the nightmare universe of HP Lovecraft, Cult[ist] lures and exposes the listener to unmentionable and unforgettable horrors across eight slices of modern death metal though that is a tag which just does not do it justice. Technically compelling with an array of flavours spun from an additional fusion of industrial and electronic metal, the album is an invasive often venomous encounter but one just imposingly seductive.

With its seeds sown in 2009, Squidhead started in Belgian as the instrumental solo project of The Painter, better known back then as Pierre Minet. The project was officially unveiled at the end of 2013 with the Prohibition EP released a few months later to potent acclaim. It was a stirring adventure for ears and the imagination, Minet’s craft and enterprise striking across its five tracks inspiring thoughts to conjure their own dark tales. As the band ventured upon the live scene, Squidhead has subsequently evolved in personnel and in turn sound. The result of three years creativity, Cult[ist] is an infernal treat of a proposition around the ever magnetic prowess of The Painter. Alongside him The Crawler unleashes tenebrific intimation through his bass and The Orator unveils nightmare realms and imagery with visceral vocal trespasses; each a source of dark tempting more than complementing the eight stringed conjuring of The Painter.

The storm courted opening to the album coaxes ears into the waiting clutches of Abyssal Worshippers, keys hinting as they lay a sinister lure into the waiting web of intrigue and opacity. Swiftly The Painter immerses ears and thoughts with technical adventure, his strings flaming with suggestion and craft but equally as potent settling into the almost carnivorous trap laid by the feral jaws of the bass and The Orator’s throat scarred vocal painting. Having run with the imagination on Squidhead’s previous offering, it was a surprise and initially wrong-footing to have some of the visual interpretation done for us but quickly the band showed there was plenty of room to create one’s own nightmares too.

The great start is immediately built upon by Mantra Of Insanity, the initial spiral of guitar drawing the fierce punches of drums and the gnarly breath of the bass before Orator spills the song’s animus of intent. Even in its rampant state, the track feels like it is stalking the senses, preying on their fears and nightmares whilst teasing with melodic tendrils carrying their own line in devious relish. The bass sadly loses some of its irritability as the song evolves and becomes an incantation like proposal yet it all works perfectly before Awakening stretches it’s carnal and in time more elegant if still rabid appetite led by the ever magnetic endeavour of The Painter. As with all tracks, every listen brings new twists and shadows to explore and similarly each delves into their pits sees the songs blossoming to greater heights.

Through the invasive dynamics and technical claws of the excellent Lucid Nightmares and the murky palette of the equally riveting Mad Painter, band and album entwine the senses in a tapestry of creative cunning and manipulation. Both tracks just enslaved attention and an already greedy appetite for the release while Whispers Of The Deep prowls and summons thoughts with intimidation and atmospheric beauty to match its predecessor’s captivation.

Similarly Torn Skies ignited the psyche and passion with its bordering on barbarous stomp, its rock ‘n’ roll virulent and voracious with spinning webs of guitar accentuating its creative alchemy. Leaving the senses breathless and imagination ablaze, the track is another major rival for best moment within Cult[ist] though the choice does twist and turn among this last quartet of tracks much as they themselves within their seriously tempting bodies.

Verbis Diablo brings the album to a richly alluring close, its more mercurial gait and air posing challenges, perils, and temptations to greedily devour. It is a fine end to an album we hoped big things of due to Prohibition but has revealed a band and sound which has evolved to be a far richer and darker experience, much as the worlds it finds its inspirations in.

Cult[ist] is out now @ https://thesquidhead.bandcamp.com/

http://www.squidhead.be/   https://www.facebook.com/squidheadproject

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gutlocker – Cry Havoc!

It is a release which has no qualms in punishing the senses and venomously attacking the psyche with its irritable and grievous intent; an encounter seemingly hell bent on leaving charred remains behind in its vicious sonic wake but it is hard to return that enmity when every twisted trespass and grievous throe inflicted leaves you hungry for more. The perpetrator of that creative animosity is the Cry Havoc! EP from UK sludge punks Gutlocker, a quartet of visceral noise and groove breeders which you may fear liking but find no other option available.

Born and bred in darkest Woking, Gutlocker emerged in 2012 inspired by the likes of Pantera, Mastodon, and Lamb of God and have since gone on to share stages with the likes of Trepalium, Evil Scarecrow, and Raging Speedhorn among others and made a reputation enhancing appearance at Download. We will be honest, Cry Havoc! is our long overdue introduction to the quartet of vocalist Craig McBrearty, guitarist Peter Tucker, bassist Ben Rollinson, and drummer Dean Walker but possibly the perfect moment to be infested by their sonic animus.

The release opens up with Bitter Memory and immediately devours the senses with predacious riffs, merciless rhythms, and the vocal individuality of McBrearty. His rancorous tones twist and squirm by the syllable, a trespass as magnetic as the tempest of sludge metal bred sound around him. Grooves invade and beats rupture as the track parades its grudge carrying enterprise, a raw irritation spawn incitement which crawls deeper under the skin by the minute with its multi-flavoured sonic antipathy.

The great start evolves into the equally violent and compelling No Burden, a matching cauldron of hellacious noise and emotions cast in its own individual likeness. As in the first, there is a great hardcore insurgency lurking in the lining of the track’s prowl and adding to both the songs’ continued blossoming listen by listen.  Unpredictability similarly adds to their prowess in music and voice if not to the same heights of our favourite track within Cry Havoc!

Stuck is simply superb, a web of creative deception and ingenuity never going where it suggests or expectations assume. Straight away it is weaving with cunning devilry and with vendetta in its veins, swaying away like a Pantera coaxed cobra as McBrearty spills his bad blooded venom. Captivating in seconds, addictive soon after, the track just outdoes itself minute by minute as guitars and bass collude in predacious imagination, its pinnacle coming as a bass and drum swagger ignites a manipulative noise rock discordance as fully catchy as it is unexpected.

As great as the other three are, the track steals the show but not before being worried by closing encounter, Welcome to Fucktown. As those before, it stalks and crawls over the senses sharing rancorous breaths and malignant invention matched in kind by the vocals. There is tension in every note and second, malice too especially oozing from McBrearty’s throat and heart, it all going to make the final song one fearsome but captivating incursion.

Uniqueness is still a relatively rare find within modern music but Gutlocker have a good handle on it already and are on the path to making it a key weapon.

Cry Havoc! is available now through most online stores.

https://www.facebook.com/gutlockeruk

Pete RingMaster 24/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright