Cauldron Black Ram- Stalagmire (20 Buck Spin)

Cavernous Aussie pirate-themed metal that sounds more like Autopsy than Alestorm
Release Date: 
1 Apr 2014 (All day)

Avast landlubbers. Shiver me timbers, hoist the main-sail and other obligatory pirate slogans.

If you were one to judge by appearance, the fact that Cauldron Black Ram bases their songs around tales of smugglers and seadogs would have you thinking of sea-shanties set to electric guitars. However, Cauldron Black Ram's sound itself is about as piratey as my completely non-wooden leg. To give you some idea of what they sound like, it's probably relevant to know that one of their guitarists is also a member of the always austere void-worshipers Portal. A member of one of the most alienating bands on the planet is also in a pirate-themed band?

Leave your keytar and eyeliner at the door and strap yourself in. This should be interesting.

The first thing noticable about Cauldron Black Ram is that it's a little difficult to put a finger on exactly what their sound is. The most obvious label would be a very raw mix of death and black metal, but that would discount some of the more doomy moments on the album or some of the riffs that are phrased with an obvious traditional metal influence.

Cauldron Black Ram seems to be part of a glut of Australian bands that have recently come to my attention. Bands like Innsmouth, Stargazer and Sacriphyx that all borrow liberally from many pools of extreme metal and mix them together into a murky quagmire of influences. And Stalagmire is a decidedly murky album. Pirates or no, you could still proudly wear a Cauldron Black Ram patch and get 10+ kvlt points on any obscure metal forum.

Take for example the lurching heavy riffs on From Whence the Old Skull Came that could easily have made it onto the last Conan album. Or the riff on Bats that sounds like Maiden's signature gallop as performed by Celtic Frost. The band obviously has a very good grasp of metal's gritty underground with the songs displaying not only a variety of influences but also a uniform aesthetic quality that shows what the band is doing comes to them naturally.

There isn't really any filler to speak of on this album, just wall to wall kvlt goodness. Definitely give this a whirl if cavernous, raw extreme metal done right is your thing. Which it should be.