When you first think of the musical legacy attached to the name Cavalera, you would be forgiven for the genres of EBM and industrial being far from your mind. Drummer Iggor, co-founder and former long-time member of the Brazilian metal titans Sepultura has been making extreme music since the early eighties. After leaving the band he formed with his brother Max in Belo Horizonte, Brazil back in 1984, he’s turned his hand to a myriad of other musical ventures, the latest of which being the new multi-faceted supergroup Corroded Spiral.
Collaborating with Venezuelan sound engineer and Cardopusher (Luis Garban), a veteran professional of 20 years in the IDM scene and hardcore punk/metal act Integrity founder Dwid Hellion, Cavalera has embraced dark electronics to inspire a new sonic approach that uses synths, beats and suffocating atmospherics.
Stylistically trying to cross the boundaries between extreme metal genres, like black metal and hardcore into industrial and dance, was always going to be a challenge and the lofty title of debut release Ancient Nocturnal Summoning conjures images of ancient shamanistic rituals.
Immediately starting with the title track the urgent, heavy, repetitive dub beats throb and pulse with rich bass in an otherworldly style. Pounding and stuttering with layers of samples, colliding with electronic bleeps, synths and high-end percussion, the music is both hypnotic and danceable. The garbled, chanting, half-whispered, and obscured vocals invoke the lamenting of prayer amongst the techno influenced hooks.
There is a degree of unsettling surrender that flows through the track, like the dance of a fugue state in Midsommer, or the sensation of having a chemically induced altered reality where the listener gets lost and consumed by the beat, inspiring them to move almost without will.
Through The Eyes Of Madness feels like falling down the sand in an hourglass, drone heavy, it recalls the work of Author & Punisher on the 2010 Drone Machines album. Long, reverberating, cavernous sounds with almost glacial shifts in tone and nuance feel like a vice crushing your chest with the air of expectation as if every little sound is creating a wall of tension, teasing something potentially new but it never quite manifests.
heavy, repetitive dub beats throb and pulse with rich bass in an otherworldly style…
The third track title Resulting Fragments Splinter Existence shows exactly what the trio are trying to attempt. It may sound like most early Dimmu Borgir album titles, but out of the drone emerges off-kilter metronome-like beats. Upbeat and childlike in nature, bordering on something that would belong on in the factory of Willy Wonka (the original Gene Hackman version, not the shite remake), it’s both bright and cheerful, yet somehow very disturbing. The swirling vocals once more seem to be ethereally threatening. Part film score soundtrack, part strange marionette dance, this is the dark window into the soul the band’s press release talked about.
If the majority of the EP seemingly draws influxes from the creative minds of Cardopusher and Hellion, then the final track, Forgotten Ether is where the references to the more extreme come into view. Once more heavily recalling Author & Punisher, this harder, darker edge features tortured Godflesh like vocals with desperate, rasping howls. More direct and sounding like the demon summoned in the earlier tracks has arrived and is now stalking the halls, it feels like a change of pace from viewing the nightmare in a dream to living it.
All over too quickly, the EP spans a little under twenty minutes; sounding as crystal clear and sonically powerful as you would expect, Ancient Nocturnal Summoning is both fantastic and a bit of a let-down. It’s clear that the band are brimming with ideas and are throwing some interesting concepts at the wall and coming back with challenging, demanding music, however, the brevity of the run time means it is over as quickly as it is begun.
As a fan of JK Flesh, Techno Animal, Palesketcher, James Plotkin, and the likes, this band have a ton of potential, it would have been nice to see more of it here, but the fact that the release leaves you hungry for more is probably the first lesson in good marketing from three astute professionals.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden