Review: Kulk ‘It Gets Worse’

Although I’m a guitarist, I’d label myself more as a hobbyist. I have a few pedals, an amp and a handful of guitars but I don’t dedicate a lot of time to it. I just like to make noise (Isn’t that what we all want to do). I’ve recently been playing around with creating atmospheric distortion by adding delay and reverb which has been really fun. I used to use those effects in clean tones solely, but I think my curiosity stems from listening to a lot of Kulk‘s new album It Gets Worse.

Kulk 'It Gets Worse' Artwork
Kulk ‘It Gets Worse’ Artwork

I was intrigued how full the album sounds despite being two musicians. I know I lack drums when playing at home, but my tone sounded two-dimensional and was barely filling the small space I play in. I just wasn’t making enough noise. The UK sludge duo sparked the desire to fix that and although It Gets Worse is their third full-length, it was my first introduction to the band and I’m now looking forward to diving into their previous efforts.

Kulk begin constructing their tower of doom with the teaser intro titled More. A quiet entrance while building tension with a speedy crescendo of noise before the first track A Heavy Sigh. The foundation of a tower needs to be strong, and this track is exactly that as the wall of sound cascades down. My next move was to play with my pedals to fix my own tone as A Heavy Sigh is a powerful beginning to a commanding album.

The opening riff of Out Of Reach is interesting as I get an AC/DC vibe if they took a more somber approach to music. It’s catchy like them and I find myself revisiting the tune in my head throughout the day. Much like at the start of the album, the song builds to a massive volume but the riff returns to mellow out the chaos as an interesting filter sweep builds tension prior to the epic conclusion.

The build leads effortlessly into Mammoth which is aptly named. The layout of these songs are clearly thought out as this giant sized (or mammoth sized) number takes things up a notch and the vocals are at their harshest with intense screams before Beyond Gone with its added atmospherics batters your senses.

A Heavy Sigh is a powerful beginning to a commanding album…

Kulk aren’t in your face all the time and know when to scale things back. Fountain is that example. Rumbling bass starts the song followed by a drum beat that reminds me instantly of Somewhat Damaged by Nine Inch Nails. With each new release on Human Worth I’m noticing the drum tone is exquisite. The chanted vocals are a nice contrast to the gut-wrenching screams and again, the well-placed song in the running order allows for a breather before the tremendous conclusion.

Just prior to the short outro lives Life Will Wait. My favorite on the album, and maybe that’s because it encompasses everything I love about this release. It’s full of energy and I could see this being an epic closer to any live set. I often revisit this track and think that life will wait as I immerse myself into its four-and-a-half minutes over and over.

The appropriately named outro Less sends the listener off with a cool sounding very short acoustic riff into nothing. If you leave the album on repeat (recommended) that silence is once again filled with the intro More and you can’t deny you want more of Kulk.

The duo built up quite a tower of doom along the way with each song building the structure higher and more profound. It Gets Worse is fantastic, not only because the music is enjoyable, but it sparked creativity in me, it got me out of a rut and I’ve started to experiment with my playing again. Take the time and listen.

Label: Human Worth
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Scribed by: Josh Schneider