Kurokuma – Born of Obsidian (Review)

Kurokuma - Born of ObsidianThis is the debut album from Kurokuma, a doom/sludge band from the UK.

Both times that I’ve encountered Kurokuma, (2016’s Advorsus and 2019’s Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1), I’ve liked what I’ve heard, and now it’s finally time for their long-awaited debut album to see the light of day. The band have been slowly gathering their powers for years, and the result is a collection of songs that have been worth the wait.

Kurokuma deliver an extreme dose of doom, sludge, and psychedelia in one hefty 38-minute shot. Where other bands would deliver a package like this in just one way, Kurokuma vary their approach and although unified as a whole, each track is a different experience.

These songs are well-written and home to a feast of choice riffs and dark atmospheric soundscapes. Each track has its own character and offers the listener some different aspect of Kurokuma’s multifaceted personality to explore. Holistically the album feels like a complete package, but it’s good that you can drop in at any point and just get immersed in the band’s sea of riffs and nuanced mood-building.

While undeniably heavy and steeped in sludge and doom weight, Kurokuma benefit from a range of influences that help add texture and depth to music that could otherwise easily become one-dimensional. Tribal and ritualistic elements, exploratory psychedelia, and experimental extremity all complement a core of crushing riffs and caustic vocals.

It has been a while since a band with such a sludgy sound has grabbed me, but this is because Kurokuma are not only very adept at the central sludge style, but also augment this with other elements that allow them to avoid being restricted to just the sludge or doom genres. Born of Obsidian is a rarefied treat, one which only grows more potent over time.

Very highly recommended.

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