Forgive the brutal assault on the dead horse, but December is not a dead zone for music, and a major reason why I don’t rush my final top 40 of the year is I wait until I have properly processed everything I need to hear. I’m lucky in that way in that this is a site and not a print publication with a long lead time on getting lists done, so I can fully appreciate everything that comes deep in the year.
One of those records that definitely should not be allowed to fly under the radar is “Radiant Abyss,” the debut from New Orleans-based maulers Kavyk who pile doom, death, and strange atmospherics into their five-track, 42-minute assault. Formed with members of Barghest, the band—vocalist/guitarist Troy Bennett, guitarist Max Kimmons, bassist Brian Eiermann, drummer AJ Martinez—combines similar elements of filth and chaos you find with that project, but there’s such a heavy cosmic vibe to all of this that it manages to capture the imagination while also delivering heavy bludgeoning. That makes this crusher a pretty damn great time, and a smothering one at that.
“Radiant Abyss” opens with a drubbing rumble and vicious death growls ripping from Bennett’s bowels. The track then adds a heavy dose of space dust, one of the factors that makes this record as fun as it is vicious, as a huge charge comes from the stars. The drums crumble wills as the vocals ramp up, and melody combines with a feral surge to add an exclamation point at the end. “Cathartic Voices” runs a healthy 9:40 and starts with warmth before the tempo is torn to shreds, and chaos begins to reign. Vicious growls and a trucking pace lead into muck pockets and then a psychedelic fog, and out of that, things heat up in a hurry, the playing trudges, and everything hurtles toward a hungry black hole.
“Civilized” is a beefy 8:58, and it rips through the atmosphere, bringing menace and trudging haymakers. The playing pounds away and promises bruising while that washes over planetary force, jarring you awake with the drums clobbering. Bennett’s shrieks mar time, leveling into atmospheric pressure, sweltering guitars, and a mangling finish. “For Those Who Long to Die” combines doom and progressive winds at the start, and that slowly loosens rock and sediment as the growls gut you. Both mystifying and troubling, the track adds intensity as it weaves its way toward a sound vortex. Closer “Comatose Simplicity” is the longest track here, running 10:41, and it totally explodes, blasting into calculated heaviness. The vocals rip through rocky paths as the storming envelopes, and the playing plasters. Proggy weirdness works its way in before things are surrounded by alien strangeness that surges and finally finishes off with trance-inducing violence.
It’s great that the end of the year no longer is a burying grounds for records that didn’t cut it, and Kavyk’s monstrous debut “Radiant Abyss” is an album on which you definitely should not sleep. Cosmic death and doom are all over this five-track beast, and every single inch of this thing will leave you bruised and battered. This is a titanic debut that brings brute force and entrancing creativity in equal, twisted doses.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/kavykband/
To buy the album, go here: https://caustichollowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/radiant-abyss
For more on the label, go here: https://www.caustichollow.com/