Album: A Culinary Cacophony
Label: Memento Mori
Genre: Death Doom
Release Date: January 21st, 2019
The phrase “trim the fat” is much more fitting as an idiom than as a literal interpretation in my experience. If you bring me a nice cut of steak that you took your sweet time literally trimming the fat away…. You can fuck right off. The fat provides a ton of the flavor and you’re going out of your way to desecrate my dinner. Now, if you were to hand over your debut LP stuffed full of every single idea you had during the writing process….. maybe you should’ve trimmed some of the fat and handed me a killer EP instead. Enter “A Culinary Cacophony”, the debut Death/Doom LP from Horrisonous hailing from the underground depths of Australia. Their influences really rustled my jimmies (Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Autopsy, Death, Celtic Frost, Carcass, Dismember, and Incantation,) but sometimes the sum of the parts are greater than the whole.
Death doom is a genre that I find needs to have a perfect balance for me to get behind. If it’s too heavy on the death side, the doom sections feel forced and jarring. If it’s too heavy on the doom side, the death sections definitely feel earned but they are too far and few between. On A Culinary Cacophony, unfortunately, Horrisonous falls under the latter death doom category for me. The album kicks off with the track Kuru Worship & it begins extremely slow. Long spacious sections split by half speed death metal riffs. Just over halfway through the track (2:45) we come to the first real death metal section, and my head is finally moving with the music. The drumming kicks up in intensity and speed and even brings in some great blast beats mixed with some d-beat sections. The vocals are snarling and fit the music a lot better when it isn’t moving at a corpse pace. Kuru worship ends in just under 5 minutes, but honestly the song would’ve been better served with the intro being cut in half. The faster section would’ve still felt earned, but to start your record on such a long slow pace is a good way to lose the listener.
Track two, The Gavage, is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Sitting around 3.5 minutes, Horrisonous seemed to really understand the pacing on this track. It begins on a fast heavy groove, that the vocalist really uses to his advantage. The song is short and sweet but lacks any real memorable riffs or melodies, which becomes a consistent issue throughout the entire record.
The production for this record is exactly what you would want and expect from an underground death doom project. The guitars have a buzzsaw sound to them, but are buried underneath the dirty murky depths of the underground. Aside from the bass none of the sounds feel hidden from the listener, but some riffs can get a little muddy. The vocals are flat out filthy and really help to make the music stand out. The drums could stand for a little more punch in their sound. They aren’t necessarily flat, but they don’t feel as suffocating as the rest of the sound does. If the drums were more powerful the doom sections would have been more memorable and less boring.
Flesh Presented for Orgasmic Torment, Crispy Chunks of the Obese, Nourishment through Excrement & Number of the Feast. While all of those tracks have hilarious titles, that’s about as far as the memorability goes for each of them. The shortest of which being 4 minutes and the longest being close to 8 minutes, the album finishes on a dense slog through the swamp that in the end doesn’t feel worthwhile.
There seems to be a trend in Doom where you have to stretch out your songs as much as possible, and leave lots of space in your music. This may be due to the success of songs(albums) like Mirror Reaper and Dopesmoker. However these songs are the outliers, not the norm. And when these bands play these songs live they both are still willing to trim the fat even more to make for a better live experience (I saw them both play on the same night, can confirm.) There is good material on this record, but you have to work too hard to find it. Out of the full 42 minute runtime, I feel that 20-25 minutes are solid material and the rest is boring filler. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but with comparisons to Bolt Thrower, Asphyx and Carcass I had high hopes and expectations that were simply not met.
1. Kuru Worship
2. The Gavage
3. Perpetual Mincing
4. A Tale of Matriphagy
5. Flesh Presented for Orgasmic Torment
6. Crispy Chunks of the Obese
7. Nourishment Through Excrement
8. The Number of the Feast
Total Playing Time: 42:34
I’m pretty great. Just ask me, I’ll tell ya.