Sunday, 29 December 2013

Lurk - Kaldera (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 24/1/2014
Label : Doomentia Records

Kaldera, album track listing :

1. Below Flesh
2. Lorn
3. Ritual
4. 6 Feet, 6 Years
5. Sag Serene
6. Rest Unitaries
7. Cutting
8. Kaldera

Bio :

The four individuals hidden behind that ugly and ferocious monster known as LURK don’t like tags. Not only because it’d make them look as if they were actually looking at other bands for inspiration but also because it’d limit them. Sure thing, the words ‘dark’ and ‘fucking heavy’ are the most common words uttered with both admiration and fear about them, closely followed by ‘doom’, ‘sludge’ and whatever else suggest a form of music that takes a special pride in crushing its listeners until nothing is left but a vulgar mass of mangled flesh. But even more than their self-titled debut album released two years ago on both TOTALRUST (CD version) and SVART (LP version), their new creation ‘Kaldera’ dares taking another step into the unknown…

As they’re saying themselves, over the last two years, strengthened by multiple shows in their native Finland and around their home base of Tampere, they have developed into “a more complex beast, collecting more shades into our palette. The shifting, raw and at times very spontaneous manifestation of musical ideas is still the key, accompanying the determined and slow, crushing sounds of our doom.” Hell, there’s even shades of melody to be found in those dark ruins dedicated to humanity's failure. But first and foremost, what those eight tracks will prove with a hammer is how bloody catchy LURK has become.

Even if they might evoke to some a CROWBAR LP played at the half of its normal speed or maybe the depressing rumblings of ZATOKREV, those are just almost random points as LURK sound like no-one...but LURK. Enter ‘Kaldera’ at your own peril

Review :

Since reviewing the Lurk debut last year, it seems that the band has only gone from strength to strength. Finland is a dark place for much of the year and these Finns seem to have taken that to heart and imbued their music with a certain style of despair.

Doom, Sludge and a little black/death... all those elements are present again; this time with an even more expansive sound. The grooves of  “Below Flesh” are massive and ominous. The sound is thick and weighty. “Lorn” follows with glacial clean guitars and murky bass to start. The mix is murky in the best way for the style and the drums loosely hold the track together with some stylish. I noted the Crowbar influence in the first record, I believe- it is present again here and very welcome it is too.

Some keen dynamics keep things interesting before the gloom of  “Ritual” rears its doom filled head. Loud/quiet dynamics work well here with some serious and sombre guitar lines evoking despair effectively before a more weighty riff takes hold. The song-writing is well honed and shows how the band has tightened since their first record. Even in the seven minutes plus on this track, the band sound focused and unified.

“6 feet, 6 years” has strings, atmospherics and ideas in abundance- again, the sound is expansive and expanded from their first full length and the band seems to be spreading their wings and soaring higher and higher. 

“Sag Serene” sets up quite a groove from the off with gnarly bass and drums combining to lay a bedrock for the quite excellent riff that follows. The vocals are again a highlight- Kirk Windstein and LG Petrov are seemingly combined in one throat that delivers Lurk's message with power.

“Rest Unitaries” uses sinister tones and notation in its intro that sets up a track of creeping paranoia that builds to confusion and rage. “Cutting” features another powerhouse of a riff and delivers the album's shortest and sharpest shock. The track lurches with power and efficiency over its three and a bit minutes of playing time.
The title track is saved for last and, sure enough, “Kaldera” is worth the wait. The band flex their muscles over the nine mutes and eleven seconds that finish the record. The riffing is excellent- using weight, dynamics and creepy note patterns to get the point across.

I thoroughly recommend this album for anyone who has ever had any interest in Crowbar, Dragged Into Sunlight, Eyehategod or any of the best sludge/doom/blackened etc. bands that you can name. Atmospheric and creepy and also very, very heavy- Lurk have delivered a superb second album and one that you must hear in 2014... or as soon as you can.

Words by : Richard Maw

You can pre-order here

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