A Culinary Cacophony

Jan. 22, 2019


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Following a strong EP The Plague Doctors back in 2016, Australia’s Horrisonous has returned with their debut full length A Culinary Cacophony.  Despite being a relatively new death metal band, their roster features members who have been in groups like Illimitable Dolor, Pestilential Shadows, and Golgothan Remains (to name a few) and this level of experience shows throughout the course of the full length.  The songs may have their roots in old-school, grimy death metal, but with writing that explores elements of death/doom and even a little melodic death metal Horrisonous displays a level of variety and substance that can be hard to come by.

Much like The Plague Doctors, the roots of the material on A Culinary Cacophony pull from old-school death metal from across the world.  Depending on what song you’re listening to, you might get hints of American, British, and Swedish influences as Horrisonous lurches forward with dense, ominous riffing.  But one of the biggest differences when comparing their two releases is the increased emphasis from death/doom, as quite a few of the longer tracks slow down the tempo significantly and let the tense atmosphere build up before launching back into a faster attack.  It balances out the record quite a bit and the varying tempos gives most of the tracks their own identity, unlike some of the other death metal newcomers where everything blurs together by the halfway point.  Horrisonous occasionally pulls in some melodic elements as well, especially on songs like “A Tale of Matriphagy” which wouldn’t feel out of place on an album from the glory days of the Gothenburg scene.  A Culinary Cacophony is able to seamlessly balance brutality with ominous and tense atmosphere, which makes it capable of appealing to fans of just about every side of the death metal spectrum.

The vocal work throughout the album balances high pitched screaming and lower growls, touching upon the type of distorted and inhuman ranges that continue to draw listeners to death metal year after year.  As you make your way through A Culinary Cacophony it becomes apparent that Horrisonous has an equal balance between the two pitches, often switching back and forth between them on almost every song.  This makes a big difference when compared to some of the other death metal out there, as not only does it keep the performance at a peak level of intensity but keeps it from coming across as monotonous or grating.  It’s nice to see the group maintain the same level of versatility in their vocals as they do the instrumentals, and it’s one of the main reasons that the album continually impresses.

Horrisonous has taken a significant leap forward with their debut full length, taking the crushing old-school death metal and expanding it out even further with more death/doom and hints of melodic death metal.  There’s a lot to like about A Culinary Cacophony as it nails the grimy, ominous atmosphere without forgetting the crushing, faster paced attacks to go alongside it.  It’s a great way to start off the year for death metal fans of all kinds and hopefully the start of a band that only keeps getting stronger as they continue onward.  A Culinary Cacophony is out now on Memento Mori.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg  

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