Written By: Nameless_N00b_06
Eating is metal. We survive by threshing matter to an unrecognizable paste, forcing it down a lightless cavern and then, in the darkness, boiling it in acid. The act of feeding ourselves encapsulates the blend of violence, intensity and profundity we reach at when we use ‘metal’ as an adjective. Horrisonous drive this point liver-deep with their debut full length, A Culinary Cacophony. Its members have been slinging death around the Sydney scene in bands such as Temple Nightside, Backyard Mortuary, and Illimitable Dolor, and they’ve put their overstuffed CVs to work chopping, searing, and seasoning a viscous trough of old school death metal.
A Culinary Cacophony is a USDA prime cut of a non-homogeneous vintage sound. It’s “old school” from before the curriculum was set and all the teachers burned out into cynical husks. Yeah, it sounds kind of like Left Hand Path, but not like a later band trying to copy Left Hand Path. Rather, it sounds like a contemporary experimenting with the same sound. “Kuru Worship” opens the album with spooky death-doom not unlike Hooded Menace. It gathers speed and rolls into some nice mid-pace groove, warming us up like any good aperitif. The variety that follows is the spice of the album.
Horrisonous paint us a vivid picture in dripping oils with A Culinary Cacophony. The guitar tone is thick and grimy, layered with satisfying fog. Guitarists Stuart and Dan deliver crackling riffs in several flavors, from the aforementioned death doom to the Bolt Thrower-esque opening of “The Gavage” to the groovy, lurching “Perpetual Mincing.” The album flows nicely, picking up speed as it builds into the main course, then loosening its belt as it pushes away its empty plates. Closer “The Number of the Feast” has an almost swinging tempo, carousing like a banquet unraveling into drunken laughter.
The song “Tale of Matriphagy” deserves special mention. The album’s atmosphere is tinged with nervous carnival horror, reminiscent of Extremity’s much lauded Coffin Birth. On “Tale of Matriphagy” that horror becomes a more dominant flavor. The song, as its Brothers Grimmish title suggests, feels like an old timey yarn of woe. It’s more melodic, and its evil sounds are more classical dissonance than atonality. Yonn’s vocals are expressive both in low growls and high rasps, and they serve this song especially well. If the rest of the album is the feast, this is the ghost story told around the table.
A Culinary Cacophony is somewhat let down by its production. The guitars and vocals sound great, but the bass is more or less inaudible. Even when the bass just doubles the guitar, that low rumble still makes a big difference, and the album is lacking there. Aled’s drums, while played well, sound skinny and weak. Unlike the guitars, which are murky in a fun, slime-coated fashion, the drums just sound kind of like cardboard. Aggressive tracks like “The Gavage” would particularly benefit from a better drum sound.
Horrisonous have been laboring over the hot stove all day, ungrateful kids. A Culinary Cacophony is a satisfying meal, hearkening back to the classics without overly aping them. It’s a bit hamstrung by a weakly-produced rhythm section, but those hamstrings still have some good meat on them. “Tale of Matriphagy” points to a more distinct sound that I hope they pursue further on their next record. This record, as it stands, is tasty on its own. Tuck in.