I keep my ear to the ground. That’s why one side of my face appears to be significantly flatter than the other, but for every girl that has turned away from my unbalanced visage, gasping at the lopsided horror of it all, there’s someone else coming to me, grateful for the hard-to-come-by information that my unnatural posture affords. Y’see, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things in the ol’ Cauliflower-shaped portal about Karybdis, veritable underground murmurings, so I decided to see if the hype was born out by the recorded evidence… The good news is, it is, largely.
Karybdis operate in the same area that many of todays brightest hopefuls call their own, the area where spritely Gothenburg technicality rubs shoulders with slightly more lacksadaisacal concepts such as groove metal or straight up metalcore, the difference being Karybdis appear to have the chops, the talent and probably the bare-faced cheek to pull the whole thing off. Opener Minotaur introduces band to listener perfectly, it being a heady mix of all the little bits and pieces that make extreme metal so compelling in 2012. But, and it may become a big but if not addressed quickly, it’s that very familiarity that might end up to be the band’s Achilles heel (see what I did there?). Put simply, everyone who’s anyone (and quite a few who are destined to be no one) is doing this kind of stuff at the minute, so you’d better have something up your sleeve to help put a bit of distance between yourself and the rest of the slavering, bloodthirsty pack if you’re to prosper in such a saturated market. Luckily Karybdis appear to be holding.
Certainly you wouldn’t think a producer of the calibre of Russ Russell would get involved if they didn’t, and his knob twiddling talents certainly offer some sparkle to proceedings here. This might be a concept album, but Russell ensures any flab or grandiloquent spuriosity is kept to an absolute minimum with a spare, sleek production that allows the music to bludgeon one moment and slice surgically the next with never a drop in intensity. You can hear the music breathing here, even though its as frantic as a bunch of bingo-starved pensioners on pension day, as each band member takes it in turns to add something to the maelstrom (see what I did there as well?) of heaviness that’s enveloping your ears.
As mentioned earlier, a slight lack of originality hampers matters occasionally, with the odd faceless bit of grinding adding sporadic sameness to proceedings, but there’s enough on offer here overall to suggest that Karybdis could be the biggest death metal contenders to emerge from this sceptered Isle in quite some time. Definitely worth keeping an eye on, and almost certainly well worth a visit if they’re playing live near you any time soon.
From the Depths is out now.