Review: Charles East ‘I Am Your Consequence’ EP

The town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa is best known for being the ostrich capital of the world. Two ostrich-feather booms in the years 1865–1870 and 1900–1914 really helped to establish the settlement. Furthermore, it’s also the ‘start of the Route 62 wine route with some of the best South African Port style wines produced in the area’. Thanks for the info Wikipedia.

Charles East 'I Am Your Consequence' EP Artwork
Charles East ‘I Am Your Consequence’ EP Artwork

Oudtshoorn has also produced notable figures such as writer/poet/politician Cornelis Jacobus Langenhoven, poet Arthur Nortje, Rugby Union player Kabamba Floors, cricket administrator cum lawyer Percy Sonn and now of course classically trained pianist Charles East.

Prior to signing up with Italian label Brucia Records for the I Am Your Consequence EP, East put out the 2015 EP Ghouls, 2022’s Venom single and last year’s Dead Beat Dance single. The promo-notes state his music addresses ‘darker themes ranging from intolerance, isolation, and obsession to self-loathing and the agony of life’. Furthermore, to quote his Bandcamp page, ‘with a voice that dives and soars from the desperate edge of tender despair up to the raging heights of pure furious angst’. Needless to say, with a description like that, I think it’s safe to assume chirpy power-pop ala Cheap Trick and The Knack won’t be on the cards.

With only a mere two tracks there isn’t a whole lot of ‘bang for your buck’ going on with this here EP, but it is reportedly serving as a prelude to a full-length album that will be released later in the year. Its short running time therefore makes sense as it can be seen as a taster of sorts. So, with that in mind, let’s ‘tuck in’ (sorry).

If you weren’t familiar with Charles East before, you will be now thanks to this excellent work which will undoubtedly put him on the map…

I Am Your Consequence is the shorter of the two tracks and you are initially met with warbling Eva O (of Christian Death/Shadow Project fame) and Diamanda Galas style vocals as well as delicately played piano and tribal drumming from Christian Burgess. You are also reminded of the sombre atmosphere which Joy Division created in tracks such as The Eternal. Things start to get a little more intense around the one minute fifteen mark thanks to Jo Ellis‘ guitar beefing up the sound considerably to produce what sounds to me like goth metal in the vein of Tiamat, My Dying Bride and Type O Negative. An excellent opener.

Drain, at well over seven and a half minutes, can be described as epic with an agonizingly slow tempo (in a good sense) and you are reminded of Saint Vitus from around the time of the Born Too Late album, if they’d have favoured a post-punk/darkwave route instead of hardcore punk inspired Sabbathy doom metal. There are also traces of black metal gloom and folk present, and whilst I’m not the biggest Chelsea Wolfe fan in the world, her influence here can’t be denied.

One is also reminded of Windhand at their most melodic on later recordings such as the classic Eternal Return, Dorthia Cottrell’s style singing making its presence known and fans of depressive doom metal bands such as Thergothon may get a kick out of it, albeit minus the more punishing vocal style associated with that genre. This is a magnificent piece and possibly my favourite of the two numbers.

If you weren’t familiar with Charles East before, you will be now thanks to this excellent work which will undoubtedly put him on the map. On the aforementioned Brucia Records he’s in safe hands, amongst equally talented labelmates. I look forward to hearing more from him ASAP.

Label: Brucia Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills