That’s one apt band name. When an album intro track is called ‘Him: The Almighty Power’; and difficult to grasp, pigeon-english chants occasionally sound more like tongues; you have an idea where Cauldron Messiah (Horror), the debut album from devilish German trio Evil Spirit, is headed. But when the theatrics, the deathly roar, and the hammer stroke of every instrument all kick in, it’s aided by a minimalist production to create a crawling sound of unholy horror.
The background hiss, malevolent and eerie, is the key here; a constantly edgy atmosphere surrounding the spiky vocals of Marcelo Aguirre who, despite valiant efforts to popularise the lyrics and a real sense of overblown drama, may have further succeeded in his native tongue. The sparing instrumentation, led by Aguirre’s drums, adds to the tension and suspense with Ari Almeida‘s heavy-as-lead chords rare and startling, until each track explodes with a speedy, death-infused passage, savage riffs flying and ripping whilst cymbals tear your ears out, the voice a blackish rasp. A drum solo, thankfully brief, closes ‘Grey Ashes of the Reptile’ before a breakneck riff, squirming like a stabbed worm, writhes through the angry ‘Eve of the Beholder’. Those cymbals are far too high in the mix and detract from the enjoyment a little, though largely failing to dwarf the ominous power of the hulking, foul ‘Let The Dragon Be My Guide’ with sinister bass line and hissed vocal crawling under the skin like a burrowing serpent, the faster section a frosted, slithering monstrosity.
And here’s the strength of the album – a sound embracing all extremities and creating the impression that they belong so naturally in the same bed. Undeniably doom, the tolling morbidity of ‘Reino Sangrento’, its highest point with the twisting, vertiginous riff, whilst blasts of blackened death add the fire to ‘Push Angie Back Into The Swamp’ [I love that song title! – ST]. Aguirre’s pipes are the real evil here however, a villainous rasp which gives real chills with the spoken, horrific growl of the nefarious, twisting title track. Missing only a drop of sludge, a more balanced mix could have seen a wondrous product here.