I was always taught that using a cliché showed a lack of original thought and an example of an over used opinion. With that in mind I sat down to put finger to keyboard about ‘The Cursed Law Of Thelema’, the latest demo from Hastings sludge/doom crew Rise Of The Simians… reading the previous reviews of their 2007 demo and playing it back in context with this release I was brought out in mental sweats.
How do you accurately describe this music without using, or even over using words like ‘crushing’ , ‘grinding’, ‘filthy’ and the usual hyperbole associated with the genre? Short of resorting to making up words or swallowing a thesaurus, I may fail where …Simians actually succeed.
Frippery aside, this is actually a very good release and a marked progression from the first demo in terms of sound quality and song craft. It starts with a lilting gentle, almost folk tinged intro in the form of the two minute ‘Liturgy of the Funereal Rite’ which serves as a red herring for the power of the remaining tracks. The only hint that something nasty is brewing is the over dubbed dripping water and the droning sound building in the background, suggesting something dank and rotten lurks beyond.
By the time ‘Eyes of Saturn’ lurches in on a squall of feedback the cited doom influences become apparent and niceties are banished like Christian morality when Crowley uttered the edict ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’.
The bands bio claims ‘a chaotic expansive doom sound’ and they regard themselves as ‘messy, loud and unrepentant’ and for the middle two tracks this is a reasonable description, the solid, weighty drone of Electric Wizard mixed with strangled, feral vocals that bring to mind a more refined Michael Williams of Eyehategod. Yet at the same time the band display a more measured approach to their music that is highly atmospheric, and more consistently paced than the aforementioned New Orleans sludger’s frenetic approach, with the guitars snaking in a hypnotic groove over the rumbling bass and metronymic yet complex drumming.
On first listening the Neurosis influence passed me by, but on repeated spins the shear weight of riffing and the deliberate focus of the writing, particularly on the 14 minute ending instrumental ‘Deathbed of the Beast’ do call to mind Oakland’s finest noise merchants with it’s menace and bleak despair.
For a demo recorded in a rehearsal space the production stands up extremely well and is in keeping with their ideology. ‘The Cursed Law of Thelema’ builds from the first release and gives them a powerful platform to showcase their dark aesthetic. Although maybe not as violent as the bio suggests, the Rise of the Simians would certainly crash your party, take over the stereo, scare the guests away and leave blim burns in your carpet.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden