We’ve never written about pirate metal on this page, and we aren’t about to goddamn start now. Funny enough, in my inbox is a promo for one of the silliest metal albums of the year, and I can’t imagine wanting to write about it. But that’s not to say that metal about warriors hitting the high seas to invade lands is without merit. There is plenty of violent stuff about Vikings, so why not pirates?
Aussie trio Cauldon Black Ram have brought gnarly adventures about violence and pillaging for nearly 25 years now, but they’re not here to write about silly parties and tongue-in-cheek hijinks. This band is here to wreck you, destroy your village, and take whatever the fuck they want, which they make clear on “Slavers,” their fourth album and first in six years. Over these 10 tracks, the band—guitarist/vocalist Alim, bassist/vocalist Gruesome, drummer/vocalist Esh—unloads smashing yet engaging chaos that comes at you at fast as it possibly can, chewing you up in the gears. Combining members of notable groups such as StarGazer, Mournful Congregation, Road Warrior, Martire and so many others, Cauldron Black Ram are deadlier and bloodier, with a rusty razor’s edge.
“Flame” starts off the record with a black metal-style rupture as things melt into a swaggering section before shit gets smashed. Grisly growls and monstrous thrashing drive the way as the leads sweep out and boundaries melt. “Smoke Pours From the Orifices of the Crematory Idol” has a doomy edge as it takes a mid-pace battering to you with growls lurching in the filth. Dual leads intertwine and glimmer as the track rings out at the end. “Stones Break Bones” opens with burly growls and a stampeding pace as the riffs catch fire. Leads glow and tear while mucky hell is unleashed with weird keys adding a glaze that makes the song feel funereal. “Graves Awaiting Corpses” lands heavy blows as speak-style growls drive into your chest. The playing is slurry and disorienting while the bass recoils, and the playing mashes bones as the vocals sound like a chorus of orcs coming for your throat. “His Appearance” is a quick instrumental that ties a bow on the first half as it brings noble smashing and cool melodies.
“Whore to War” is menacing as it bubbles from the cracks while the growls spread soot in your face. The track rampages and aggravates an already building fire, while the intensity is maintained before charging to its conclusion. “Temples to Death” barnstorms like a beast as the guitars slink in spots, and infernal growls rupture from the guts. Twin guitars race into foul weirdness as the growls gush blood, and the song ends abruptly. The title track surrounds you with a wall of guitars meeting up with hissing growls and a disgusting assault into darkness. A weird gust spits before the playing goes into loops, and the destruction levels the walls. “The Pit” clobbers heavily, bringing with it massive growls and a strong tempo that tears through you. Terror spreads amid a violent assault that ends in a pit of horror. “His Exultance” is the final track, a story-ending instrumental that’s muddy and leaves your mind altered, slaying you in bizarre transmissions.
There’s a lot of silly shit out there when it comes to bands imagining they’re boarding ships and ransacking lands, but Cauldron Black Ram never have given in to those tendencies and always has been a band that delivers the violence it promises. They totally wreck you on “Slaver,” an album that feels like you’ve been rushed by invaders who are aiming to burn down your city wall to wall. The six years we waited for these destroyers was well worth it considering the amount of destruction contained within these smothering 36 minutes.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/cauldronblackramofficial
To buy the album, go here: https://listen.20buckspin.com/album/slaver
For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/