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Cybernetic Witch Cult — Absurdum Ad Nauseam

Cybernetic Witch Cult
Absurdum Ad Nauseam
by Gary Hernandez at 03 November 2019, 2:17 PM

Apart from having the coolest name in the Stoner Metal scene, CYBERNETIC WITCH CULT is known for their mixture of intellect and humor thrown against sci-fi themes and executed with killer riffs. Their fourth full-length studio album will be released December 2019. It’s entitled “Absurdum Ad Nauseam” and is probably their heaviest album to date. It’s also probably their darkest album to date. Put those two bits together and you’ll come to correct conclusion that this album definitely slides to the Doom side of the spectrum.

After a short one-minute intro of sundry feedback, creating a veritable sci-fi soundscape, the album launches into “Hypercomputer, Part 1.” In true CYBERNETIC WITCH CULT form, the track lays out the theory that life is actually a simulation left running from an ancient computer. It sounds like an extension of some of the themes in “Troglodithic Trip.” Track three, “Cromagnonaut,” completely blows the latches and hits the boosters with groove-laden Stoner riffs that just won’t stop.  As the title suggests, the song is about early humans piloting spaceships across the universe. But this is where things also begin to get a little darker, as it’s also a metaphorical statement about the condition of our human condition. Parallel to its darkening theme, the last quarter of the song increases its gravitational pull and slows to Doom proportions.

This split between tongue-in-cheek sci-fi and hand-to-chin philosophy is what marks this album as different from other CYBERNETIC WITCH CULT albums. As the album title would suggest, the album isn’t as light hearted as previous releases. For instance, “The Cetacean” recalls the Douglas Adams novel, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by liberating the doomed whale (who in the book comes into existence as it is plummeting toward the earth) and sending it voyaging through the galaxy, hopefully to find an ending that doesn’t involve the violent, spontaneous creation of whale sushi. Nice happy, kind of crazy story. Got it. But then there is “The Myth of Sisyphus,” clearly in homage to Albert Camus’s seminal essay. While it’s not necessarily a dark song, thematically at least, it isn’t druids in outer space either. I say “thematically” because musically the tunage, tempo, and riffage are definitely on the gloom side.

Speaking of down tuning, “Spice,” about the giant worms of “Dune” (Frank Herbert) packing mind altering substances, sounds just like it’s storyline—slow moving, heavy, and hallucinogenic. It’s not one of my favorite tracks on the album, but Doom and “Dune” fans will love it. Another sci-fi, or at least fantasy, tribute is the “Ivory Tower” which gives a nod to “The Neverending Story” (Michael Ende). I hated the movie and never read the book, so maybe I’m little biased. The band notes this is their “proggiest” song to date. I get it and I would never discourage innovation, but from my estimation the experiment failed. More Stoner, please.

The album, close to an hour long btw, ends by cycling back to the beginning with “Hypercomputer Part 2.” It’s a bit ponderous, both in thought and pace. And I think that’s my overall assessment of the entire album. There are parts of “Absurdum Ad Nauseam” that are killer Stoner overdrive and they are glorious. And there are the parts that are heavy Doom, which are also good for what they are. It’s all about expectations. If you came to the party expecting Desert, you’ll be a little disappointed. I think the winners here are those who came looking for Sludge Doom.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Universal Boot Sequence (Intro)
2. Hypercomputer, pt.1
3. Cromagnonaut
4. The Cetacean
5. The Ivory Tower
6. Spice
7. The Myth of Sisyphus
8. Hypercomputer, pt.2
Lineup:
Doug MacKinnon – Bass, vocals
Alex Wyld – Guitars, vocals
Lewis May – Drums 
Record Label: Independent
     


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