Kawthra (Can) – The Tenets [EP] (2021)

It was quite an accident that I came across this release. Kawthra are a Canadian band who in their own words are “Bound by an ever present disdain for existence, Kawthra’s form of sludge fills the sonic space with reverberating screamsand thick, burdensome riffs. Born from Fort Erie, Ontario, this four piece combines brooding passages with hauntingly melodic expanses that frame the desperate cries for purpose.” This is one of the most accurate mini bio’s written by bands. Kawthra haven’t split the sky into two, they haven’t redrawn parameters of existence into auditory aberrations, they’ve just decided to play riffs that bring down buildings with heaviness that is usually associated with the apocalypse or the more accessible internal torment. Their lyrics are introspective and it makes sense why they’ve chosen the form of metal they ended up with. This brand of doomy sludge offers the width to carry the burden and the band manage to bring all their angst festered with harshness onto this EP. Kawthra also manage to put together an absolute bare bones eerie atmosphere that chills in between the monolith of riffs. I’m going to follow this band till their first full length at the least.

Bandcamp: https://kawthra.bandcamp.com/album/the-tenets

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kawthraband/

My Dying Bride – Macabre Cabaret [EP] (2020)

My Dying Bride sticks to their well established template with this EP. Although the band seems to have sped up their riffs and songs in general, otherwise there are no haunting riffs, no eerie slow drums that pierce the atmosphere. The keyboards are slid within the rhythm section and shine through on the last track ‘A Purse of Gold and Stars’. This is a good-riffy EP. Not that the riffs in themselves are spectacular, they just stick to an essential My Dying Bride sound. However, the guitars sound absolutely spectacular, the tone isn’t too distorted or tuned down to the depths. It’s a fine balance to carry the band forward. Aaron’s vocals add a brilliant layer on the top, no complaints there. The EP is a fantastic display of the band’s musicianship.

To add to it, the EP has been mixed really well, there is not a dull moment. The opening track is a 10 minute hymn to the darkness, the band puts their best foot forward and sound their coherent best. Propelled by Aaron’s vocals and fantastic rhythm section, this song alone makes sufficient case to get a physical copy of this release. The guitars aren’t muddy, they’re deep, easy and relatively slow in comparison. The band has also released a video for this and that it in itself speaks volumes of where the band currently are. I’m delighted to hear this and I’m positive every fan of Peaceville sound will definitely appreciate this track in entirety.

‘A Purse of Gold and Stars’ should be called out for invoking the beautiful atmosphere of “Sear Me MCMXCIII”. Albeit this track feels like is a gentle reflection off a nice quiet stream. This song is a fantastic look into My Dying Bride’s phenomenal sense of songwriting. A slow, reflective composition that embraces the shallow atmosphere and to add to the effect are brilliant vocals. These are the tracks where the band springs to life. No matter how well they weave their rhythm to the dark atmosphere, it’s these gentle pieces where the band is at their best. It’s a relatively short EP clocking at 22 minutes and it does leave you wanting for more.

From the memorable yet basic riffs on the title track ‘Macabre Cabaret’ to the more doomy ‘A Secret Kiss’ where the entire band is at their best, there are no complaints. Infact ‘A Secret Kiss’ takes us back to the band’s heavy sound which is an absolute pleasure. I see this EP as a good companion to their stronger albums. There are no identify problems or sudden departures from the established. It’s a wonderful release on this whole. Do get a copy! This is a good display of My Dying Bride’s agility and I for one am glad to hear this release this year.

Label: Nuclear Blast