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Starspawn of Cthulhu – The Cursed Vision

Starspawn of Cthulhu
The Cursed Vision
by Gary Hernandez at 27 March 2023, 8:01 PM

Some bands wear the sigils of their blackened souls and corrupted minds right on their sleeves. Italian Lovecraftian Doom Metalists STARSPAWN OF CTHULHU is one such band. There should not be any doubt as to the object of their attention. The duo formed relatively recently (2019) and have already issued three EPs. The latest, “The Cursed Vision,” was released on January 28, 2023 via Talheim Records.

I played a bit with advanced search function in Metal Archives and discovered that of the close to 400 Metal bands dedicated to Lovecraftian lore, close to a quarter of them were Doom or Doom adjacent, which I found surprising. Most Cthulhu mythos bands I have heard have been Black Metal. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when the heavy, down-tuned treads began to boot through my headphones with “The Cursed Vision.”

The album comprises five tracks and edges just past 27 minutes. So, a long EP, this one. The musicianship is excellent, with lush melodies and lead solos. The synth flourishes are mostly piano, which adds a classical, haunting vibe. And, indeed, the prevalent feel for most of the album (tracks one – four) is almost Gothic, say Vampire: The Masquerade more than Call of Cthulhu. This is further underscored with the clean vocals—which is a bit of a departure from the band’s previous releases. The exception is track five, “Blind God,” which renders not only more discordant riffage but also guttural vocals. In my estimation, this is also the best track on the album. Part of this is due to the heavier dissonance (which carries through to track six, “. . . But Now I’m Suffering”); part of it is due to the grittier vocals.

And on that note, I do have to say the execution of the clean vocals are somewhat inferior to the guttural. You get the sense that the vocalists were trying too hard to be faithful to the lyrics, sacrificing passion for accuracy. It might come down to the language—English. I can’t help but to wonder if they would sound better in Italian. At any rate, in “Blind God” this pretense drops away in direct proportion to the level of viscera—that is, as the viscera increases so does the perceived authenticity. While this may take away from the Gothic overtones, it adds to the depth. It also better aligns with the evil distorted riffs.

It should be no surprise that my call of standout tracks includes “Blind God” and “. . . But Now I’m Suffering.” These are also the last tracks of the EP. It’s as if the band got heavier and even better as they warmed up. I know that’s not how recordings work, but that’s the impression.

Altogether, “The Cursed Vision” is a promising album. I appreciate the more Doom/Gothic approach the band tries with this release and even the dabbling with cleaner vocals. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. In context with their larger catalogue, “The Cursed Vision” witnesses the band exploring new territory. I have to say it’s not as compelling as some of their previous albums, but still very much worth a listen.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Iranon
2. The Last Raft
3. Black Lotus
4. Blind God
5. … but Now I'm Suffering
Domenico Groppo – Guitars, vocals
Roberto Biasin – Guitars, vocals, bass, synths
Record Label: Talheim Records


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Edited 30 May 2023

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