Album Review – Cauldron Black Ram / Stalagmire (2014)

The music from Down Under has never been so obscure and devilish.

Rating5

CoverIt’s time to visit our friends from Down Under in search for some well-executed heavy music. However, this time our focus is not the traditional Hard Rock from AC/DC or Airbourne, but the extreme music from Australian Black/Death Metal band Cauldron Black Ram and their new album, the 100% evil Stalagmire.

The band has been on the road for quite a while, more specifically since 1996, having already released a couple of demos and full-length albums, but of course due to their raw, unpolished and gruesome musicality, it was pretty hard for them to reach a bigger and more diversified audience in the past. At least the Internet has evolved a lot in the past few years  and nowadays even headbangers from the other side of the world (like here in Canada) are able to enjoy the music from bands like this obscure Australian crew.

The opening track is a very good sample of what Cauldron Black Ram are capable of doing:  Fork Through Pitch is a diabolic mix of Death and Doom Metal, with traditional instrumental and harsh vocals that will please all fans of extreme music, especially because of the band’s previously mentioned rough production. The following track, Maw, goes on with the obscurity with its melancholic intro, good old-style riffs and vocals even more devilish than the previous song, while Discarded Death is a more Black Metal tune, where the good pace of drums and the deeper growling make it pure evil.

A Litany of Sailors Sins is a really slow-paced and dark tune, sometimes so macabre and heavy that I think people who are not really into Death and Black Metal will feel bad after listening to it. Well, that’s one of the main objectives of this type of music, right? Anyway, the nice guitar solo mixed with fast drumming by the end of the song gives it an extra dose of energy, which ends up preparing us for Bats, the fastest track of the album, full of awesome screaming and twisted riffs heavier than hell, and in my humble opinion one of the best songs of Stalagmire.

Cauldron-Black-RamCavern Fever is pretty decent instrumental track similar to Cannibal Corpse’s “Relentless Beating”, showcasing the talent of the musicians, while From Whence the Old Skull Came should be chosen as the perfect soundtrack to apocalypse: it might have a very simple and repetitive riff, but it’s at the same time extremely effective in sending the message desired by the band.

Finally, we have another extremely rudimentary track, The Devil’s Trotters, which not only sounds like the Devil himself is singing in it, but it also has some excellent rude bass lines that make it stand out from all other tracks of the album; and the obscure Speliogenesis, a song that could easily summarize pain, agony, sadness and despair in music if someone asked you to do that. Moreover, its pure Doom Metal vocals and extremely dense riffs help closing the album in the most demonic way possible.

The album art is as primitive as their music, and besides that, one interesting characteristic I could notice in their music was the addition of many elements from Stoner Metal the likes of Down and Crowbar, and even some hints of the Doom Metal played by Danzig and Black Sabbath, which in the end is undoubtedly healthful for the band and its future in heavy music.

In short, if you enjoy “evil” music, Stalagmire is a very good option to invest your hard-earned money, which can be done at the 20 Buck Spin official webshop (both the CD and the LP versions of the album are available there) or you can stream it and download it at the 20 Buck Spin Bandcamp page.

Best moments of the album: Fork Through Pitch, Bats and The Devil’s Trotters.

Worst moments of the album: Maw and Discarded Death.

Released in 2014 20 Buck Spin

Track listing
1. Fork Through Pitch 3:19
2. Maw 3:20
3. Discarded Death 4:07
4. A Litany of Sailors Sins 4:16
5. Bats 3:37
6. Cavern Fever 2:35
7. From Whence the Old Skull Came 3:13
8. The Devil’s Trotters 4:13
9. Speliogenesis 4:23

Band members
Esh – drums, vocals
Alim – guitar, vocals
Ben Newsome – vocals, bass

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