Review of Caesious by Torrid Husk

Band: Torrid Husk
Album: Caesious
Release Date: 4 February 2014
Record Label: Grimoire Records
Buy digital ($3), cassette ($5) or CD ($7) from Bandcamp: Here

Cover of Caesious by Torrid Husk

DCHM album reviewer Tal was particularly taken by the new Torrid Husk EP Caesious and she really wanted to review it. I’m not one much for turning down enthusiastic album review requests and this is a pretty sweet slab of black metal from West Virginia. Be sure to check out Tal’s other writings, such as local concert reviews, on her personal blog here and of course you can stream a song from this EP at the end of the post.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews (here), you probably know I adore melodies. I also like heaviness, intensity, thunder, darkness – and Torrid Husk’s Caesious delivers on all these fronts. It’s poignantly melodic and atmospheric, with all the evil-sounding raspy vocals and blast beat thunder you’d expect from a black metal band.

The first song, “Cut With Rain,” sets the melodic bar rather high – the other two songs don’t quite meet that level of melody, unfortunately. “Cut With Rain” begins softly, but soon turns into an intense melodic assault with blast beats on top of flowing tremolo guitar work. The repeated flowing melody gives the impression of sheets of heavy rain sweeping across the land, and the raspy vocals give this land a sense of darkness — and then death, as the vocals dip into guttural death metal territory. The vocals are a little lost under the onslaught of guitars and drums, and there’s no hope of understanding what Tyler Collins, the guitarist/vocalist, is saying. Halfway through the song, we’re granted a breather, as the drums slow down for an atmospheric bridge. It doesn’t last long before the assault starts again. Toward the end of the song, there’s a neat moment where the band suddenly charges into headbang-worthy classic heavy metal riffs (played with black metal techniques), but they quickly become distorted back to a black metal sound, before becoming totally chaotic. The song goes out on an extremely fast note as the drums and vocals seem to race each other to the finish. For its combination of melody and aggression, “Cut With Rain” is undoubtedly my favorite song on the EP.

The second song, “Thunder Like Scorn,” is rather chaotic and churning. Various sounds in the song give the impression of thunder – the repeated buzzsaw riffs at the beginning, the cacophony of drums and guitars later on, the booming low growls. Even as the song slows a third of the way in, the tempest seems to churn on. There is a tranquil melodic segment in the middle, like the eye of the storm, but just as it starts to get relaxing, the drums thunder in even more aggressive than before. The song slows again toward the end, as though the storm is drawing away, and the vocals become more prominent – up to that point, they’re a bit lost among the instruments.

The last song, “Paranoia,” starts off just as fast and intense as the song before it, with a frenzied sound again matching the title. Interestingly, the two songs are connected by a ringing feedback note that ends the previous song and starts this one. “Paranoia” is a bit more varied than “Thunder Like Scorn,” though, with some slower atmospheric guitar, sometimes laid over hammering drums and sometimes dominating the tempo; a bridge that, with its dissonant buzzing notes followed by gentle strumming, gives the impression of a catatonic state; and vocals ranging from drawn-out, agonized screams to furious ranting. The drums, whether battering fiercely or insistently enforcing a slower tempo, the uneasy-sounding guitar riffs and the agonized or infuriated vocals certainly create the impression of intense anxiety.

Compared to Torrid Husk’s earlier album Mingo (released in June 2013), the drums are more prominent on Caesious, and the guitars and vocals take a back seat to them. Rather than being swept over by cascades of atmospheric guitar, Caesious is dominated by blasting drums. As I greatly enjoy atmospheric guitars, I find this a little disappointing. Despite this, Caesious is still a solid release that should put a dent in anyone’s cravings for darkness, thunder and even a bit of melody.