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The Cauldron of Darkness - Genesis

The Cauldron of Darkness
by Ian Yera at 18 October 2021, 6:48 PM

CAULDRON OF DARKNESS is an atmospheric black metal band from Stockton California, and boy is this album something. I’m not really sure how good it is, but believe me it is an experience. Genesis is very much in the sludgy, doom side of black metal. The production is intentionally fuzzy, almost to the extent of stoner doom, but enough that it is definitely distracting. I always appreciate a good one man project, regardless of how I feel about his music, Mike Wright obviously has a vision and while I think the execution is somewhat lacking the man still wrote all of this and recorded it himself for which I give massive kudos.

So I guess my main issue with this album is that it’s lacking in the kind of variety necessary to even tell apart the songs. Musically it’s a pleasant listen, but the moment the album ends I can’t remember a thing from it. Some atmospheric black metal is more background music than others, and that’s not even necessarily an insult. Muzak is an integral part of the human experience. Almost everywhere you go there will be ambient music playing somewhere and without it we would discover how lonely the world feels without it. I realize that in atmospheric black metal to many the “it’s too ambient” argument might not be sufficient, or might seem like bullshit, but there is a fine line between long form black metal that has a focus, and black metal that just seems to drag on without hooks and without a point. I genuinely enjoy the music on display here, and like I said it is a pleasant listen, but it’s kind of hard to analyze and review music like this, especially on a deadline. I mentioned the production is really fuzzy and I know lots of people like that kind of sound, but I feel it works to the album’s detriment often. There are some really good riffs on this, but sometimes it can be really difficult to hear exactly what is going on. I think this could have been helped by bringing down the overall volume and giving the guitars especially a little more headroom.

This was the kind of album that I wanted to like, but a few things hold it back, the production, the lack of central focus or theme. I try not to use the word boring in reviews, but let’s just say it’s great music to study to. After sitting through this album several times I should be able to remember more of it, I should be able to discuss the individual songs, but I can’t, there’s just nothing that really stands out or hooks me. There’s plenty of potential here and I do like the sound Mike Wright was going for, but overall it’s a little rough and incoherent.

Songwriting: 6/10
Musicianship: 8/10
Memorability: 4/10
Production: 6/10

2 Star Rating

1. Genesis
2. Catalyst
3. Constellation
4. Disembark
5. Deprivation
6. The Pale Rider
7. Epilogue
Mike Wright - Everything
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 October 2022

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