Sunday, 13 March 2016
Kurokuma are a band from Sheffield whose Japanese name translates to Black Bear (according to google anyway!) which is fairly apt because their 2 track demo is the very aural definition of being mauled by a bear!!! I only got onto these guys a couple of days ago though this demo has been out for well over a year! I only got onto it after starting this blog and Joe from the band contacted me which prompted me to check them out and I'm gutted I'm only getting to this now!
Whilst only being 2 tracks and 12 minutes of music there's plenty packed into these 2 songs! first track "18.2 Tons" certainly lives up to it's name! Opening with a howl of feedback and straight into a riff that would floor the hardiest of riffmongers at 100 paces! the verse is full of discordant riffs that just tingle the spine then moving effortlessly back to the main riff with some, I think phased (?) guitar layered over it which just works brilliantly the thing i like about the main heavy riff is along with the pounding drums it doesn't just make you nod your head, it's a proper happy grimace, rock throw your whole body back and forth kinda riff! Also towards the end the main riff slows to a crawl and the phased guitar returns with some MANIC lead work add to this the utterly anguished howling and roaring vocal work,something I'm not usually a big fan of however it works perfectly here, then Going out on squalls of that phased guitar work this song just destroys!
2nd track "Ursus Thibetanus" (Again according to google this translates to "bear with a black coat living in central and eastern Asia" i think there's a theme here) is a bit of a different beast altogether Opening with another killer heavy riff and more uptempo than "18.2 Tons" it has a kind of groove that's not typical of this sort of music but still has you nodding your head and the main verse is peppered with some great harmonic guitar that is no doubt a nod to Godflesh at their most twisted but the big surprise with this song is when it breaks down into what i can only describe as a kinda Latin influenced drumming which leads into some guitar work that is quite psychedelic however when i say psychedelic think black nightmares not blissful dreams! the song then breaks down again with an almost dub-like section before slaying you with a return to more familiar riff laden territory and those anguished vocals back to the fore creating an atmosphere of sheer desperation! Upping the dynamic with some Double bass drumming and more of that nightmare psych guitar over the heavy riff is just a brilliant touch! However my one criticism is it ends far too suddenly and the cymbal wash/guitar thrash ending is to my mind sub par to what they have created with a song this good! If i had been at the desk i would have encouraged a long fade out instead,however it's only a VERY minor niggle and if i scored music like other reviewers it wouldn't lose them any points!
There's that old showbiz adagae "Always leave 'em Wanting more" and it definitely applies here! It has to be said to my ears these guys are obviously above average musicians the drums are amazing the bass is more than just back up to the guitar and there's some really good runs and flourishes along with the various styles of guitar going on here from the pummeling riffs to the more spaced out crazy stuff and discordant touches is the sound of a band well practiced and who definitely know their way around their instruments and considering this demo was released in Nov 2014 I shudder to think what their next recordings are gonna be like with over a year of practice and gigging under their belts!
Whilst the "18.2 Tons" is an absolute aural mauling and doesn't lack fresh ideas, it's the second track "Ursus Thibetanus" that shows this band using really progressive and original sounds within the framework of their chosen genre managing to keep their sound heavy and intense but utilizing elements outside their sphere of influence to create something truly astounding!
Below I have linked you to their Bandcamp where you can download the demo for free I would get on that right now because whilst on first listen these guys may seem like just A.N. other heavy sludgy band paying some attention to the music will reveal the different layers of sound and you will realise you are onto something pretty damn original! you can also check their facebook page out at the link below as well so go there and hit them up with a like.
Demo - Bandcamp
Facebook - HERE