Fester and Putrefy

Written by: MK on 26/09/2010 06:01:10

In Latin, Cavus means “pit” or “hole”. When they came up with the name, the burly Finnish guys in Cavus were probably imagining some ichor black pit full of skull fragments and offal. Or maybe it's some ancient dungeon accented by the screams of the tortured. Either way, that's the sort of aesthetic they're going for. The band photo is all black metal — five very serious looking hessians in ragged leather that look like they just clawed their way out of a crypt. It says something interesting about the over saturated status of the genre when a photo of guys that look like that — long hair, diabolic black and white face paint, spiked accessories, sneering expressions — is not particularly provocative. Black metal is, more or less, twenty years old now. How many shrieking fiends in bullet belts and spiked bracers can there be?

Fortunately for Cavus, they play a brand of muscular black metal with strong affinities to death metal that is distinct enough to stand out from most of the corpse-painted hordes. It's somewhere in-between Angelcorpse, Watain, and later Darkthrone, and for the most part it's pretty solid. The production is thick and dirty, with that elusive demon, the black metal bass guitar, in full roar behind the twisted wall of riffs and snarls. Where the album impresses most are the instances of groove that surface from the grinding, dark morass. Several songs are very generic however (“Discovering Through Suffering” comes to mind), and Cavus would have done well to trim some of the fat off of their debut album.

“Fester and Putrefy” is not contemplative, cold, minimal black metal, and it's not trying to be. Most of all, these songs are working to get heads moving and fists pumping. The strong groove on “Death Rattle” and “Possessed By the Devil's Blood” conjures images of candlelit basement venues surging with a demonic mosh of combat boots and black leather. Is this the sort of pit that “Cavus” is referring to? “Fester and Putrefy” is, dare I say, a fun listen. It's the kind of fun that's lost on most people obviously, but metal heads and their ilk will recognize what's going on here. The album's tag line is: “No keyboards, no fairies, no bullshit,” which is the kind of attitude within black metal that I can support. While this message may not come across as strong today as it would have five years ago — during Dimmu Borgir's reign and before the coming of the Old School Death Metal Movement — it's still a welcome sentiment to a genre of metal that has been searching for solid footing for some time now.

On their debut album, Cavus do not reinvent black metal. They are not trying to. They play an unyielding brand of death-inflected black metal that is not interested in incorporating folk elements or harp solos. That is what I admire most about “Fester and Putrefy” — it is a very honest effort at making a sick and virulent black metal album. Their next album will definitely benefit from a more refined, focused approach, the evolution of which should be followed closely by fans of this kind of musik. Many bands have successfully merged death and black metal better than Cavus do here, but “Fester and Putrefy” remains a promising debut from a potent new black metal entity.


Download: Fist of a Titan, Death Rattle, Possessed By the Devil's Blood
For the fans of: Watain, Angelcorpse, Marduk, Antaeus
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.09.2010
Listenable Records

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