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Kurokuma Sheffield's Best Metal Bands Vol. 1

Sheffield's Best Metal Bands Vol. 1
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Kurokuma have always possessed a dash of humour and self-awareness that sets them apart from more po-faced sludge siblings. This irreverently titled EP is a landmark of sorts, the first release by a band on veteran dance label Off Me Nut Records.

The influence of the band's new labelmates is in evidence across the EP's four tracks. Opener 'RVN' arrives on a gust of solar wind, a luminous bassline pulsating through the cosmos. It starts in a similar way to Pink Floyd's 'One Of These Days', of all things. Then a towering riff gatecrashes the trip, as tall and unyielding as Stanage Edge. Real kosmische music.

Think Sleep, Sabbath and Sunn O)))

The band's signature slow crawl allows them room for experimentation, untethered by jackhammer blast beats. Think Sleep, Sabbath and Sunn O))), an exploration of new worlds rather than an all-out race to obliterate them. 'Wasp Nest' comes to the boil hesitantly and simmers for four minutes, threatening to spill over but never doing so. It's an exercise in the sustained loops and tension-building techniques usually associated with the experimental fringes of techno.

Next is an unrecognisable but infinitely preferable take on Jamiroquai's 1999 Godzilla soundtrack, 'Deeper Underground', a track whose title could be the band's mission statement. Closing us out is a trap rework of 'Wasp Nest'. Rather than ramp up the tempo and transform it into a bassline banger, the track swaps doom guitars for buzzsaw synths, ending the EP with a brief club coda.

Sam Gregory

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