Hailing from Finland, because of course they do...all my favourite bands do...it’s a project shrouded in a sense of mystique and intrigue, as the ensemble wishes to explore the darkness with a sense of macabre, theatrical flair on their debut album “We Are The Dragon”. Released on NAPALM RECORDS, let's see just how these darkest of stars can brighten up your summer playlists.
The album appropriately kicks off with the title track and we’re met with a surprisingly up-beat, jovial guitar tone...this is a lot more melodic than expected but there are zero complaints with that. I had a similar experience with GHOST’s debut album; expecting some brutally dark doom metal but getting some kind of deeper, BLUE OYSTER CULT type effort. Seriously the song structure here revels in its simplicity but it’s an effective hook, which is in turn countered by the sinister, snarling vocals. Honestly, it's like the DANHAUSEN of rock songs; very nice...very evil. It meanders pleasantly enough and gets the album underway in an interesting and unexpected manner, but it’s all good.
Follow up track “My Venom” takes things down an admittedly darker path...the initially twangy guitar leads into some seriously atmospheric, intense instrumentation, before we blend elements of thrashy punk with chilling alt-rock. We soon realise that the vocals here don’t necessarily have a lot of range or depth, as we find ourselves sticking fast to a husky, raspy delivery. While it would be fine to chastise the lack of diversity, the style is effective enough to carry the tracks, and it gives them and in turn this entire album, it’s character.
Having established the general approach for the record, we can easily appreciate that from here on it just goes from strength to strength, with several notable highlights. “Luna In The Sky Forever” in ways reminds me of the aforementioned Ghost with its catchy electronic-tinged bassline and simple, synth-laden groove. “Don’t Be Tender Love Me Cruel” has a slower, more methodical pace that allows emphasis on the emotive guitar tones, which, coupled with the self-depreciative lyrical drawl, creates a sultry, almost masochistic offering.
If it’s up-tempo you want then this bunch of cvlts have you covered too, as album highlight “Twilight” luckily has absolutely nothing to do with Stephanie Meyer. Nary a sparkling vampire in sight, we get a fantastically infectious dose of punk-tinged hard rock with more hooks than Leatherface’s lady-pantry. At its core, the up-tempo bass riff and simplistic chugging could be mistaken for something by, RISE AGAINST or BAD RELIGION, before the darker characteristics kick in. This is a great track. “Hellbound” keeps things nice and intense with some initially pummelling percussion and another dose of deeply self-depreciating lyrics... ”My mind is an endless well of negative thoughts...in its prime; shows me no remorse”. Relatable fam. “Whore Of Babylon” is then equally relatable (Can I get a H’oooohhhhhhhh Yeahhh from all my fellow sluts? I’m kidding...I’m KIDDING!) but the blackened metal flurry can’t help but raise more than a few horns.
In terms of alternative music, Cvlt Ov The Svn have seemingly cherry picked some quality influences stylistically for this debut. There’s a sprinkle of black metal and gothic imagery, there’s a brilliantly fun, punk-esque hard rock quality to a lot of the instrumentation, there are almost doom inspired atmospherics and it’s all wrapped up with an almost pop music production quality, and it works perfectly! These Finns have dropped what is personally, a contender for the album of the year in my eyes and ears...believe me, I am a dragon too, and I’ve got one on my flag to fucking prove it!