This marks the fourth time in five years that we’ve written about the unorthodox, genre-splicing Russian band Cage of Creation. The first time, in 2017, was our review of a record named III, which completed a trilogy of EPs. The second, in 2018, was a discussion of another EP named I Am the Void, which was the commencement of yet another trilogy. And then last year we premiered and reviewed their most recent full-length, Into Nowhere II. The persistent theme of all these written reactions was one of continual fascination with the band’s unbridled experimentation — within the context of songs that were nevertheless so seductive that they were damned difficult to get out of our heads.
The occasion for today’s happy reunion with Cage of Creation is the premiere stream of a new EP entitled I Am the Void II, which will be released on May 16th by Devoted Art Propaganda on 12″ vinyl. As the title suggests, it’s the second part of the new trilogy that began with I Am the Void in 2018, a three-part work that thematically focuses on experiences related to psychoactive explorations. This new EP presents two original works and a cover of Bethlehem’s “Nexus“.
There is no completely appropriate way to briefly summarize Cage of Creation‘s style of music because it has too many facets and constantly evolves, though if you look, you’ll see press references to “psychedelic black rock”, and Metal-Archives refers to their music as “Experimental Black Metal”. Whatever genre descriptions might be attempted for the new EP, the band continue to prove themselves to be… fascinating.
As in the past, they put plenty of rhythmic and melodic hooks into these songs, but simultaneously create experiences that are sinister, unnerving, and capable of playing games with your mind.
As Cage of Creation lead us down the increasingly unpredictable path of “In The Dark He Seeked Us“, they first offer strange screeching and quivering tones and then gradually begin layering the instrumentation over a slow-rocking cadence, beginning with a dual-guitar harmony that’s gritty with distortion and bleak in its mood. As the drums tumble in bursts, a third guitar joins in, contributing heavier and even moodier tones. That third guitar begins to vibrate in a fever as the rhythm section fuels a head-moving momentum, and a duet of gloomy wailing and abrasive vocals create feelings of menace and madness.
An acoustic guitar melody further adds to the shifting facets of the track, just before harsh shrieking vocals and skittering fretwork join the parade of sounds. And then, following a momentous bridge, the song accelerates as the band introduce darting riffage and hammering drums, blaring chords and freakish soloing, with extravagant vocal wildness that flies sky-high. And as if your head weren’t twisted enough by these manifold escapades, it ends with eerily flickering synths and mutated gong-like radiations.
By contrast, “Through the Corridors of Dark Nights” is a comparatively simpler and more head-hooking affair, and one more heavily influenced by New Wave and post-punk. Introduced by a heavy bass rhythm and head-snapping back-beats, the song reveals a weird pulsating guitar riff, an amalgam of yelled and barked vocals, darting keyboard reverberations, and slashing guitars. Even though the music bounces, a strange blurting and buzzing guitar, accompanied by harsh shrieks, adds an element of psychedelic strangeness, while howling guitars and ecstatic leads bring the song to a close on a crazed yet exhilarating note.
“Nexus“, the Bethlehem track that Cage of Creation cover, first appeared on 1998’s Sardonischer Untergang im Zeichen irreligiöser Darbietung, and was then given a twisted new shape on that band’s 2003 Suicide Radio EP. It’s a ghostly, psychoactive, and poisonous song that suits Caged Creation‘s sensibilities almost perfectly. The Russians make the track hit the pulse harder, and their version is even more vocally elaborate, but they retain its aura of supernatural peril. There’s a dancing keyboard motif in the mix, and the psychedelic guitar solo is every bit as good as on the original.
In short, this new EP gives adventurous listeners further reason to continue closely watching Cage of Creation and anxiously awaiting whatever they choose to do next.
The EP includes guest vocals and a guitar solo by Szturpak of Licho and Koniec Pola. The attention-grabbing cover art is credited to Artefucked and Ra Bs.
Devoted Art Propaganda is taking orders for the vinyl edition of the EP now, which requires completion of an on-line form:
Devoted Art Propaganda On-line Form