For most casual listeners, the fact that Kurokuma are signed to Off Me Nut Records shouldn’t raise any serious suspicions. However, for those with a knowledge of the underbelly of the national music scene, this fact would most likely raise an eyebrow. For those not in the know, Off Me Nut primarily promote and focus on alternative dance and rave artists and promoters, regularly hosting raves and parties up and down the country.
Whilst the thought of such a label to release a record from a doom laced sludge band is completely unprecedented, those who have experienced Kurokuma previously will completely understand the relation. Claustrophobic, inescapable and possessive, the Sheffield sludge trio possess all the qualities that mark the rest of Off Me Nut’s roster. However, if most of the labels roster is the sonic equivalent of a handful of pingers, Kurokuma’s latest EP is the equivalent of a near fatal dose of krokodil.
Much like their two previous offerings, Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1 doesn’t attempt to hide or shy away from the group’s shared love of electronic based music. With techno prouder Tich at the helm, the EP see’s the trio interweave electronic synths and synthetic beats into their craft for fantastic effect once more.
‘RVN’ see’s the trio lull listeners in with forbidding and minimalistic synths and a rigid, almost synthetic drum beat. Simplistic, ambient and yet deeply unsettling, such an intro welcomes in waves of acidic sludge and riffs so holistic they may as well be recorded with the rustiest of chainsaws. It’s a corrosive and abstract nightmare of a soundscape, one that’s the host of a screaming match between barbaric vocals and vampiric hissing. Yet despite this, elements of subtle multidimensional tribalism bubble on the surface of this hissing, corrosive swamp of a soundscape.
Whilst the instrumental and inflexible ‘Wasps Nest’ contains little dynamism or distinct progression in any sense of the word, it’s clear that this isn’t the tracks purpose. It’s an auditory hallucination, one that drags the listener forever down into a perpetual bad trip thats soundtracked by the slow death of the universe. However, it also serves as the interlude to the crown jewel of this EP, a cover of Jamiroquai’s 'Deeper Underground'. Of course, you would be hard pressed to establish yourself if this is a cover of one of the masters of funk’s greatest hits. Kurokuma take the groove and jovial funk of the source material and perversely disfigure it to the point where it’s utterly unrecognisable. It’s an absolute behemoth of a cover, one that see’s the group take the innocent nature of Jamiroquai and turn it into a predatory abomination, one that’s dripping with acidic sludge and is forever lurching forward, leaving nothing but waste in it’s wake.
The EP closes with a quick ‘Memphis Beat’ remix of ‘Wasp Nest’, one that perfectly and wonderfully demonstrates the group's love of 90’s techno and underground drum and bass whilst highlighting the group’s humour, a sense they share with their respective label. In all, we implore you to tune in, drop out and let the hallucinatory waves of Sheffield's Best Metal Bands Vol. 1 flood your mind. This is a bad trip worth experiencing.
Sheffield's Best Metal Bands Vol. 1 is out Friday 3rd May via Off Me Nut Records