Thursday, March 21, 2013

The KuntautCult - "From the Pits..." (2000)

Album (Displeased Records, 2000)

Line – up (1994, as Bodybag):   San Ypeij – vocals/guitars;
                                                    Bas Van Splunder – vocals/bass;
                                                    Thijs Velthuizen - vocals ("My Beds are Made of Turds");
                                                    Pepijn Ypeij – drums.

Location:                                    Riddekerk (Holland).

Better song of the album:

Maybe “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

Better feature of the production:

The drums.
The KuntautCult… the band name is fuckin’ odd, but when you open the booklet of the album, the vision that awaits you is something absurd. The pages are very colourful and without lyrics (as well there are some writings here and there, included even a quotation from John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”), while you can find the stranger subjects on them, like a psychedelic John Travolta ("Saturday Night Fever" - era, obviously) with a submachine gun (“Pop Goes the Weasel”) or a spaceship ready to leave the Earth with the portraits of each band member as in a movie poster (“Galaxy Legends”). It’s curious but there isn’t the page about “120 Bar of Pressure Up Your Appendix”, I wonder why. Anyway, the nice thing is that the band keep its faith to this ironic attitude for all the album, also if initially it couldn’t seems so.

But, attention please, the music of these cinema fanatics isn’t experimental, in fact they play a ferocious brutal death metal full of hysterical tempo shifts and without a melody shadow (except the last song called “Excavated Wrapping”). The riffing is surgical as in the best tradition of the genre, some riffs are very remarkable in terms of madness and wickedness, while the solos are a rare stuff. Besides all this, the breath moments are counted on the fingers of a hand, also if there are excellent groovy passages here and there in the album (like in “Use Your Dagger”).

A particular feature comes from the vocals. I mean “particular” only for the way they are used. First of all, I must say that the main vocals are guttural and tenebrous growls, while the other ones are croaking screams. Now, the important thing to know is the following: the vocals occupy often a little role in the songs, hence these seems to be instrumentals. This is a great risk, also because some tracks don’t takes – off completely (like the opening track, that is “Xavier”). Then, the songs’ nature don’t justify that feature, because they aren’t so technical or weird.

In return, there is a good variety between the (metal) tracks. For example, “Axe Rectal Trunk Pisser” has creative rhythmic intuitions and also a solo that is not bad, while “Use Your Dagger” is the tour de force of the album, 6 minutes of madness that contains also a long threatening deceleration, and still I must mention the sudden shifts of the drummer in “Pop Goes the Weasel”.

But there is a surprising track called “Venus”, where the band try to integrate the classical blues turn in a brutal song. And, wow, the experiment is succeeded perfectly! The song structure is very simple, the screams have the main role with the addition of some raptured clean vocals, while the soloist guitar is finally very important, playing two excellent solos. And we mustn’t forget the acoustic moments of the song.

However, the band is sometimes so various to exaggerate a bit during the second part of “From the Pits…”, that is less compact than the first one. Besides “Venus”, the second half contains in quick succession two ultra – fast brutal/grind songs (“Galaxy Legends” - an instrumental - and “120 Bar of Pressure Up Your Appendix”) and another (brilliant) experiment, that this time is acoustic plus fat clean vocals and two electrical solos (“My Beds are Made of Turds”). Now, the quality is always good (the last aforementioned song is a little masterpiece) but there are two objections to raise:

1)      I prefer the longer tracks, where the band shows all its potential without any limits, so even two very short episodes are useless;

2)      After 4 unconventional songs, the listeners almost forget the typical band style. Fortunately, with the long “Excavated Wrapping” (5 minutes circa of length), the purest brutal death comes back to slaughter the ears.

Finally, I must mention the good and clean enough production, that gives to all the musicians the right visibility, also if I advise to listen the album through the headphones, since some drumming variations are imperceptible without them; and the movie sketches contained in the platter, ranging from “The Great Race” to “From Dusk ‘til Dawn”.

Now we are arrived at the end of this review. My conclusion is that the band deserved a lot, I wonder why they haven’t continued their musical path after this debut album. Then, its recording sessions were very hard, because it was recorded even in 4 different periods from August 1998 to February 1999. At this point I would like to interview these 3 guys about those adventurous and mad years… hoping to find them. So, come on, cross the fingers for me!

Rating: 75

Flavio “Claustrofobia” Adducci


1 – Xavier/ 2 – Axe Rectal Trunk Pisser/ 3 – From the Pits… (acoustic)/ 4 – Use Your Dagger (Cosmic Orange Cult)/ 5 – Pop Goes the Weasel/ 6 – Venus/ 7 – Galaxy Legends/ 8 – 120 Bar of Pressure Up Your Appendix/ 9 – My Beds are Made of Turds/ 10 – Excavated Wrapping