Back with their first full length in six years, due to commitments with their other bands Mournful Congregation and Stargazer, Australia’s underground Blackened Death Thrash miscreants Cauldron Black Lamb deliver “Slaver,” a ten track, thirty-six-minute slice of malevolent skulduggery and barbarity that sounds brutal to the core and makes a compelling listen.
Having also heard two of the three other full lengths from their back catalogue, “Skulduggery” and “Stalagmire,” out of these I like this latest offering “Slaver” the best, I think they have taken their sound step further and the more doomier aspect to it, for me, makes it even more atmospheric, alongside the very convoluted style, which is utterly unpredictable and deranged, it could have been an utter disaster if gotten wrong but this works so well on so many levels the skilfulness of it is off the scale, one minute Death Thrash, the next, a dark atmospheric Doom-scape and the exciting thing is you just can’t predict how it will develop.
The riffs are usually straightforward in themselves but the way they are put together also has that unpredictable convoluted style, often packing a punch, as does the drum work which has some complex and unusual patterns, there is almost a jazz like quality to the assembly of it all and the vocals which come at you on three levels; demented vitriolic semi-cleans, earth shaking growls and a sinister gravelly rasp all of which have an excellent clarity of delivery of the lyrics and often form a dialogue between each other in a way which is almost theatrical, culminated by a sinister air that hangs over everything.
You experience that berserk tempo switching at its most deranged peak on the opening track “Flame” which switches pace every thirty seconds in the first two minutes and if you survive that then the rest of the album drops into place beautifully. There is so much that I love about this album that it’s hard to choose a favourite track I love the military drum rhythms and accompanying riffs on “Smoke Pours From The Orifices Of The Crematory Idol” they make perfect back drop for the ground shaking protracted growls, the previously mentioned “Flame” which aside from the berserk tempo switching also has an engagingly sinister repeat, latter part riff lead segments that veer from haunting to deranged and a great dialogue between the growl and demented vitriolic semi-cleans.
The theatrical aspect to vocal delivery on “Graves Awaiting Corpses” is excellent and I love the stop start phrasing of the track and “The Pit” is packed with sinister pomp along with deranged leads in the second half but if I’m forced to choose then “Whore To War” has the edge for me, it’s punchy, groovy and sinister as hell with simple but effective lead work which takes on a sinister twist with a dark undercurrent that courses beneath the vocal delivery.
So, brace yourself for the stench of war-torn lands, scorched villages as wanton thievery seeps from the thick heavy atmosphere because “Slaver” is out now on 20 Buck Spin.
Rating – 5/5