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Casu Marzu – “Psychosomatic” review

Posted in album review, Casu Marzu with tags , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2011 by GRAMPS Pantheon

 

When experiencing a band whose namesake is a cheese, one may be led to expect something tongue-in-cheek.  Yes, casu marzu is a cheese…a maggot-infested, decaying cheese.   However, this is no gore- splattered grind album either.  Casu Marzu is a serious extreme metal band, whose name, enigmatic in its relation to the music, fittingly reflects the album’s mysterious lyrics and curious blend of musical influences. 

Psychosomatic is surprisingly expansive for a 15 minute EP.  Divination and Legata revel in epic soundscapes that flit between traditional melodic death metal and ethereal black metal.  There are frequent moments that channel the great Immortal and Enslaved, especially in the cold, yet progressive edge to much of the album’s black metal sound.  The lyrics follow suit, being quite atypical for metal, while being mediated through a black metal rasp.  They are all over the place, ranging from the mythological leanings of Legata to more introspective meditations, like Plague Bringer’s allusion to a J. Alfred Prufrock musing “Do I dare disturb the universe?”

Casu Marzu is still a new band though, and sometimes it shows.  The drumming sounds programmed on this release despite them having an actual drummer.  This digital drum-kit sound gives the music an artificial sound that sometimes enters the realm of sloppiness, especially during the introduction to Tempest.  A few of the tracks end somewhat abruptly as well.  Though, it is worth noting that neither of these complaints detracts enough from the EP to ruin one’s enjoyment.  They are definitely excusable for a first release.

It can be easy to be too hard on a newcomer.  Clearly lacking the benefits of a proper studio recording and mixing, Psychosomatic nevertheless succeeds in its sonic deliverance of extreme metal joy.  Casu Marzu takes influence from the various masters of black and death metal, but isn’t afraid to look forward.  Musically and lyrically a success, Psychosomatic is an entertaining listen that should prove a more delectable morsel than its band’s namesake.

NOTE: The album can be download legally for free at this location: http://casumarzumusic.bandcamp.com/

-Max

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