Kurokuma – Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1

Kurokuma’s new EP ‘Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1’ sounds, from the title, like a compilation of local acts. It is, in fact, a 4 track EP of psychedelic, doom sludge. Whatever that means, I’m just quoting the press packet if I’m being honest.

Opener ‘RVN‘ has a threatening sounding guitar intro that slowly adds more instruments and builds texture over its 4 minute intro. Then some heavy ass, melody-less vocals kick in and sound like a literal personification of anger. Though the vocals do nothing for me, the riffage was mildly pleasant on the ears. ‘Deeper Underground‘ is the other epic of the EP, coming in at ten and a half minutes. Beginning with speech snippets and a haunting background, then moving into brooding guitar work, then into some of the heaviest and most pleasing instrumental work on this EP. However, this track also features the strained vocals deep in the background, and it just sounds off. It’s definitely overlong and took all my willpower not to switch it off (but I didn’t, because I am a professional).

Second track ‘Wasp Nest‘ begins, as expected, with the uncomfortable sound of wasps, before brooding bass steers us into music. This track is exclusively instrumental so is, in my books, the highlight of the EP – they certainly aren’t terrible musicians. However, it doesn’t really go anywhere either. A much shorter ‘Memphis Edit‘ of this song closes the EP and presents the band being simply weird. Repeating what sounds like a movie quote over a brooding electronic instrumental for almost three minutes isn’t exactly the most exciting musical piece in the world.

The instrumentation, though oftentimes mid tempo and brooding, is certainly the highlight, but serves for nothing more than background noise. I honestly prefer this band when they don’t sing. However, if brooding riffage and angry, hoarse vocals are your thing, I don’t doubt this will deliver everything you’re looking for. Put simply: if you’re a fan of the genre, I see no reason why you won’t like these guys.