Friday 4 February 2022

Kurokuma - Born Of Obsidian (Album Review)

Release Date: February 04th 2022. Record Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Cassette/Vinyl

Born Of Obsidian  - Tracklisting

1.Smoking Mirror 08:24

2.Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli 04:32

3.Jaguar 08:30

4.Ololiuqui 08:00

5.Under the Fifth Sun 08:53


Jacob Mazlum (guitar/vocals)

Joe Allen (drums)

George Ionita (bass)


Born Of Obsidian is the debut full length album from Sheffield Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal juggernauts Kurokuma and comes eight years after I originally encountered them on my Sludgelord days. This album sees the Sheffield dirge-ridden heavy hitters bring a more riff-centric approach for this release but still keeping their experimental heavy creative approach intact.  Bringing Sanford Parker along for the ride in a producer’s role, the album has a “major league” appeal with the band performing Progressive Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal grooves from the rule-book of Relapse Record releases. Kudos also to getting James Plotkin to master the album as well. So you know with those two legends of the scene on board, this album is going to sound wonderful from start to finish.

The album moves at a thrilling speed with Kurokuma moving between the different levels of Sludge Metal and Post-Metal with the band evolving into heavier depths of Doom/Stoner Metal with a twinge of Psychedelic vibes and even distorted Noise Rock levels. You can feel all these dark musical surroundings on the excellent opening track Smoking Mirror. The  vocals match the dark musical mood that Kurokuma lays down with a surreal Progressive theme leading the way. The riffs are plentiful but played with the force of “THOR’S HAMMER”. Yeah, I’m being OTT there but when the music hits hard, this really becomes a powerful beast of it’s own.

The music is quite grimy in places with a sense of realism at the heart for the album. Maybe taking influence from PRIMITIVE MAN and CONAN with the heavy volume stakes, Kurokuma are still masters of their own dark musical vision. The album is a concept album of sorts and has an early-Mastodon feel but perhaps harsher and with more aggressive energy.

The other four songs are just as good as the opening track with Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli, Jaguar and Under The Fifth Sun being the heaviest offerings on the record.

The album is best viewed and listened to as one epic song broken down into individual chapters. Each one brings its own themes, narratives and breathtaking grooves with some of the best bass-playing I’ve heard in quite some time. Born Of Obsidian will take repeated listens to fully understand and appreciate with the record being quite complex in places. Though, Kurokuma have always delivered this style of music with their previous releases.

Born Of Obsidian does have a “CULT UNDERGROUND” appeal but it also has the potential to launch Kurokuma onto bigger and greater things. The guys deserve this after all the time and effort they’ve put into the scene. 

This is without doubt Kurokuma's best release to date. An album that pulls no punches with it’s almost limitless style of musical tempos and changes that all build up to one of the most daring, exciting and adventurous debut releases the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene has seen in years. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to For The Lost PR for the promo.

Born Of Obsidian is available to buy now on CD/DD/Cassette/Vinyl


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