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Album Review: Cauldron Black Ram – Stalagmire

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, June 20, 2014 at 3:51 PM (PST)

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When you hear “A Litany of Sailor’s Sins”, it’s as if power-hungry oars are beating down on your heads, slow, moving water aside to crush down on you with guitar soaked fury. as a vocal death growl welcomes you home.

Cauldron Black Ram are a long running outfit from Southern Australia who defy expectations of what a pirate metal band ought to sound like. Press play on their track “A Litany Of Sailor’s Sins” and you are not going to hear anything along the lines of an Alestorm or Tankard. There is no sea chanty feel or fun loving swashbuckling going on here, just balls to the wall death metal. This band is much more like barnacles on an undead skeleton pirate ship’s hull than a fancy hat and brand new cutlass. They don’t make me think of parrots. Let’s face it, the most metal thing in those Jack Sparrow films was definitely the doomed undead, anyway.

Stalagmite is an awesome album and the only reason it isn’t rated higher here is really a production thing. The songs lurch, slam or charge forward powerfully enough, and in some cases truly astound like the powerful dirge that opens “Maw” (a song that evokes the vast open sea before trudging into a cursed and resigned feeling of horror). Grunts, screams and roars abound on this record, with solid playing across decks.

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