Review: Cult Of Sobek ‘Petsuchos’ EP

Edinburgh seems a city ill-suited to large semiaquatic reptiles, although with current climate trends we may live to see West Nile crocodiles basking along the Water Of Leith, or indeed their saltwater cousins cruising their way up the Firth. Nonetheless, despite average annual temperatures a fair bit cooler than those of Ancient Egypt, a nasty little cult has taken root in the old city, honouring that ambiguous agent of creation and chaos, Sobek.

Cult Of Sobek 'Petsuchos' EP Artwork
Cult Of Sobek ‘Petsuchos’ EP Artwork

Like their patron deity, this trio hold us in a cold-eyed reptilian gaze, bringing forth a bleak and metallic flavour of doom, with a certain traditionalism to it – a property that usually has me heading for the door, but here is balanced with a tripped-out tendency which keeps me from bolting.

The sound is at times sparse and lo-fi in a way more often associated with black metal, but which suits the bleakness of purpose. No doubt the rumbling bass of the record is a powerful force live, underpinning the crashing, all-that’s-needed, drums, death-doom growls and a high and harsh guitar sound that, at times, is swamped in delay.

this EP is likely to speak to anyone with an ear for things slow and malevolent…

Among this rumbling, gurgling and dooming is some variety of form – while the title track, Petsuchos, may move relatively straight ahead, the second track Lord Of The Crocodile works itself into delirium and howls of pain, devotion or despair. Maneater sees the band get their heads down into an inward-looking gallop with the clear guitar melody swapped for a churning mid-paced riff, finally spinning out into a slower, strange psychedelia.

While they draw links to more fluffy UK progenitors, the comparison that comes to my ear is Ramesses in the will to mount a vicious and hostile assault on the psyche. Cult Of Sobek are perhaps reaching towards similar magick along the left-hand path, and as relatively new initiates (formed in 2022) may still have secrets to learn before fully captivating this listener. Nevertheless, this EP is likely to speak to anyone with an ear for things slow and malevolent.

Label: Trepanation Recordings
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Harry Holmes