Kavrila – Blight Review

You receive a promo for a band. You quite like how said-band sound, but after a while said-band leave you a bit underwhelmed. So, you leave them for a few days. You listen to other bands, refresh yourself with classics of days-gone-by and other new releases, then go back to said-band. Hmm. Still quite good, but there’s something missing. A big empty space. A lack of imagination? And this leads to an inability to write an engaging opening paragraph to your review. Trying to avoid the ‘Said-band are from Timbuktu and play pig-core on their debut album Evil Pig Pentagram and are influenced by the Tibetan Glamcore scene,’ I thought about writing a story using the song titles as prompts, going completely off-track and discussing my morning quandaries, such as what syrup to have in my latte, or going pretentious and meta. I decided to go pretentious and meta; I hadn’t gone meta on the site before: here I am. Kavrila are from Hamburg, Germany and play doom-punk on their debut Blight and are influenced heavily by post-hardcore.  That was easy.

Looking at Blight’s 24-minute runtime would conjure ideas that this would be a blistering record that doesn’t let up. Not necessarily. It begins with blistering intensity as “Each” chugs, crunches and rumbles with simple yet effective mid-paced hardcore-flecked metal riffs. It’s melodic and easy to digest, with the hooks and memorable moments provided by the cadence of the vocalist. His dusty, sand-paper bellows are well enunciated, devolving into deeper anguished growls at points throughout. “Each” also contains the faintest traces of an organ and well-placed spurts of galloping drumming, however there’s not much more to comment on. This isn’t necessarily a negative: the simplicity is striking. “Each” slaloms into “Lungs” with simple licks and echoing vocals before becoming a controlled whirlwind, plugged by semi-breakdowns, make up the opening minute. Then, bored already with the blistering aggression – and there’s only been about three minutes of it at this point – the song moves into a dreary doom section that fails to rouse much in me. Vocally the dusty drawl is powerful, but the rest of the instrumentation falls into very bland territories.

Already the band seem to be experiencing an identity crisis. “Abandon” opens with groovy, hooky tastiness. Warm and bouncy licks decorate the lively opening and the verses rock with a cool swagger that counteract well against the moody chord changes of the chorus. This relationship between the almost-poppy simplicity of the verses and the miserable shift in the chorus is very well done. Another tonal shift occurs with “Gold,” reverting the album back into the desolation of doom. A post-hardcore vibe travels with the doom here as the song shifts into a mid-paced groove and vocals take on a vulnerable quality, but, as with the second half of “Lungs,” the song detracts from the energy harnessed in “Abandon.”

“Demolish” is the logical follow-up to “Lungs,” swaggering with a real hearty groove and harnessing an honest hardcore-vibe. The choppier, down-tuned tone of the song’s core, interspersed with spurts of hardcore-punk, works very well, embellished by angrier vocals. “Golem,” too, harnesses this hardcore swagger well, sounding like a much cleaner, doom-dressed contemporary of Have Heart and Trapped Under Ice. However, the song once again moves into a superfluous doomy section that splutters and falters almost instantly. And, as expected, the next song “Apocalypse” drags you straight back into the urgent post-hardcore, disregarding the movements of the previous. The guitars and drums here, compared to most of the album, are strikingly unique: guitars warp and bend like sirens and the drums descend into heavy rumbles that nearly move into blast-beat territories. The song’s only 1 minute and 25 seconds long, but it packs a punch and manages to unearth nuance and diversity excellently well. Like the inevitability of death, closer “Each – (Part Two)” moves the song back into slow territories, rumbling along at a sullen pace for two-and-a-half minutes before moving into an instrumental ending.

Despite Blight’s short run-time, I found myself skipping the slower parts to get to the juice of the fast-paced stuff. In my opinions, Kavrila are much better at playing the punkier, harder, heavier, and more blistering stuff; the doom and noise severely limps behind. The more melodic and hook-heavy moments, too, are very well written, and the band rely on dynamics and progressions rather than individual instrumental showboating. However, this is too inconsistent and irregular for it to be deemed a complete success. There’s certainly something here though.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Backbite Records
Websites: kavrila.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/kavrilaband
Releases Worldwide: August 4th, 2017

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