Some bands seem to get ideas above their station. You know the sort of thing, try to build up a backstory for their music “Oh, it’s inspired by the ancient Aztec myth of Ometeotl and the creation” or some such bollocks, only to sound like 30 minutes of someone vomiting nails into a metal bucket.
Yep, extreme metal concept albums, dontcha just love em.
Fortunately, every so often one comes along that bucks that trend, and completely defies your expectations…
As you’ll all be up on your Greek mythology you won’t need me to tell you that Karybdis was a daughter of Poseidon and Gaia, and… ohh, go read Wikipedia. (not that I had to, honest *cough*). This Karybdis are an unsigned 5 piece band from London, and From The Depths is their debut release, due out on the 2nd of July.
Now, hand on heart, I didn’t have any great expectations when I first put this one on, but as I do try to listen to everything that arrives I braced myself and pressed play….
The album opens, predictably enough, with a quiet (in this case nautical-esque) passage before the inevitable guttural roar as the noise crashes in and we’re off, swept along on a maelstrom of swirling guitars, a tight as fuck rhythm section and a vocal delivery that proves that there is much more to life at the growly end of the spectrum than the aforementioned vomiting of nails into a metal bucket. The opening track, Minotaur, is a veritable blast through all that is best in modern metal. Bit o’ Death, Bit o’ Thrash, Bit o’ Melodeath, all blended into something that manages to make you sit up and pay attention.
It’s a killer opening track, but any fears that Karybdis have shot their bolt too soon is soon dispelled by the title track which follows. You know those (slightly) slower, pounding, heavy death metal tracks that you fear are just going to break necks live ?? Well it’s one of those with bells on, it’s brutal in the best possible way.
Hell there’s even elements power metal harmonies that pop up, Arson Aesthetics doing the whole “shifting mood and feel” thing as well as anything else you’re likely to hear. I think this is the most eclectic track on the album and it clearly showcases a band who are not backwards when it comes to mixing things up.
The thing is, there’s nothing particularly new in the elements that go to make up Karybdis’ sound. I mean you’ve almost certainly heard it all before but I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a well balanced blend of styles, and the swirling, epic scope of the music fits the, erm, swirling epic scope of the concept surprisingly well.
I’m not sure quite what I expected from Karybdis, but I really didn’t expect it to be quite this good, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be opening the text document on my laptop entitled “end of year lists” and adding From The Depths, but it really is that good.