The blackened tendrils of the Vinum Sabbathi have snaked their way around an unwitting world over the last 40 years and it seems that the vines grow strong with the Fruit of the Doom in Sweden where the legacy of bands such as Candlemass, Count Raven, Spiritual Beggars and a million death metal bands almost make it the new spiritual home of the downtuned riff. How then can a band as monumentally awesome as Catapault The Smoke go unnoticed for so long?
“Unearthed” is, in short, a slow burn classic. This three piece straddles the divide between stoner and doom to create a fuzzed up wall of mighty riffage and ball slapping beats. I’m not even going to go into detail about each track as each one is a lesson in the mastery of the the riff…Mr Iommi would not only be proud, he’d be bloody scared!!! Tempos shift from a monolithic crawl to a bareback charge with a fat greasy snake hipped groove along the way. If I was backed into a corner with the Devil’s fork pointing at my throat to make comparisons I would have to say the inevitable Sabbathisms abound in the 70’s doom vibe the band muster. There’s also a nod to classic Soundgarden at times when they still valued the power of the riff and a touch of QOTSA before they had their balls removed. I’d also reference a nod towards “Blues for the Red Sun” era Kyuss for some of the sheer prolapse inducing weight on offer here.
The real ace in the pack here has to be the vocals. Musically this is a spot-on riff fest par excellence but is topped off with some genuinely soulful wailing that brings to mind a cross between Spiritual Beggars era Spice and Chris Cornell without the shrieking…and without the God awful R&B shit he seems to be intent on destroying his career with at the moment.
The intriguing thing about this release is that the bulk of the tracks were recorded in 2004. It also includes 4 bonus tracks recorded in 2001 which show the band’s sound already in place and the songwriting already developing its character. Why though, have the band chosen to release an album of 5 year old recordings as their first release? I’m pretty certain that, given the progression here between the older tracks and the more recent, they must have a truck load of awesome material just itching to go!!!!
This is the first release on Orchestrated Misery Records and by rights this should sell enough for the label owners to retire to their own islands in the West Indies where they can bask in their own glory and drink Champagne off the arses of beautiful Vestal Virgins. I suspect this may not happen but as a first shot they seem to have got it pretty well bang on the money so if you’re reading this…stop now and go track down a copy of this little masterpiece as, for me, it’s putting up a good fight to make my top ten albums of the year!!!!
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall