I haven’t felt very well today, having managed to poison myself with alcohol at a job-related function last night. I doubted I would be able to write anything of my own for the site today. So fragile is my head and so unsettled is my stomach that I even doubted I would be able to stand listening to any metal. But for reasons I can’t really explain, I randomly decided to explore an EP named causa that a New Delhi band named Kouros had invited us to hear, via an e-mail that arrived yesterday. It proved to be a wise, if impulsive, decision.
causa was just released a week ago via Bandcamp, and it appears to be Kouros’ second release overall (though I could certainly be wrong about that). Further, it appears that Kouros is a solo project, the musical vision of a man who calls himself Nium, and it’s a multi-faceted vision that draws from multiple wellsprings of metal and rock.
The opening track, “non sum qualis eram” is a beautiful, meditative song, performed largely with acoustic guitar, the sound of strings, and a somber clean voice, casting visions of a sun-dappled stream, flowing slowly beneath a shadowing forest canopy.
The following track, “somnium”, makes a smooth transition from the opener, continuing to build an atmosphere of dreamlike introspection, but it soon swells in intensity with the arrival of swirling guitars and eventually big, hammering riffs. Back and forth it moves, between stretches of poignant beauty and segments of driving potency, with hints of ghostly strangeness.
Although the relatively brief third track is named “toxicity”, the chiming guitars and somersaulting drums generate an aura of celestial beauty rather than contagion.
“the truce” pushes the atmosphere of the music further into realms of otherworldly and entrancing beauty, with ghostly clean vocals enhancing the sensation that you’ve stepped outside the physical world. Yet distorted, jagged riffs arrive to pull you back down to earth, foreshadowing what’s to come before the EP ends.
And the centerpiece of the album arrives in the form of its final track, the nearly 10-minute long “emphatic oblivion”. It melds heavy, grinding riffs and booming drum strikes to create a current of deep, resounding power, and around that heavy core Kouros spins filaments of ethereal, cosmic melody. The vocals don’t arrive until the second half of the song, and they vary from harsh growls to subdued clean singing. It’s an atmospheric, immersive piece of richly textured music that resonates with elements of doom, black metal, and progressive metal.
causa is a name-your-price download on Bandcamp. I’m grateful to Kouros for pulling me out of my own misery, at least briefly. I look forward to being mesmerized by causa again when I’m less wretched — and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.