Plague of Carcosa is a two-piece instrumental doom band from Chicago, with H.P. Lovecraft and the occult being centrepieces of their sound. The project, beginning in 2016, boomed to life with the release of The Colour Out Of Space, which incorporated doom and Lovecraftian themes and immediately grabbed the metal community’’s attention. Each subsequent release has been aided by musical greats, such as Dennis Pleckham from Bongripper mastering their 2018 release Rats In The Walls. Now, Plague of Carcosa has returned with the two-track EP, Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains, which was released on July 19th.
The EP opens with “Crawling Chaos,” which drowns the listener in feedback in a very Bongripper-esque fashion (thank you, Pleckham!) for the first minute and sets the scene well. The track finally kicks off with a deep, chunky, repetitive riff, accompanied by a thick barrier of distortion, which allows both Eric Zann’s atmospheric guitar implements go to work, and the listener to sink into the depths of their psyche respectively. Fuzz aplenty fills “Crawling Chaos” with a raw, gritty feeling as it builds in intensity with each bar, the same riff with an additional lick here and there. This emulates the song’s title excellently and does the Nyarlathotep, the Lovecraftian Outer God the song pulls from, justice. What one learns from this track is that Plague of Carcosa is constantly evolving and going from strength to strength, and adding to the heavy Lovecraftian vibes which aided their boom in popularity.
Get a load of the “Crawling Chaos” here:
The 10-minute long epic “Madness At Sea” is the latter half of Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains and is a homage to the sailors who lost their minds at sea by the hand of Cthulhu. The Lovecraftian tips are clear, with fuzzy guitars and feedback screeching almost seeming to mimic a beast of the deep, and malevolent, thundering drums pairing with cymbals recreate the sound of a storm and crashing waves respectively. In “Madness At Sea,” Plague Of Carcosa really show off their musicianship. A swampy, chuggy riff leads the track initially, setting the nautical tone before settling in the background and allowing the drums to take charge. When the guitar leads returns, it is a sublime, melodic and simply gorgeous wall of noise which borders on the atmospheric. Out of nowhere, the track becomes an expansive soundscape, and you’re left unsure as to whether your mind is expanding or you’re dipping into nautical madness.
This swap to and fro allows each side of the duo to shine, but also adds to the disorienting effect of Cthulhu on the unsuspecting sailors, making for an immersive listen which is significantly more than just a Lovecraftian gimmick. Plague of Carcosa really take their time in delving into the aforementioned theme with Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains, and it pays off. With this much pull from guitar and drums alone, vocals are simply not required, as Eric Zann and Lark McGee are an astounding musical duo. Ending in a violent whirlpool of feedback and noise, “Madness At Sea” ties the EP’s concept off well and leaves one distorted and confused, but craving more.
The second song (and whole album) can be streamed and purchased here:
Ocean Is More Ancient Than The Mountains is a strong continuation of Plague of Carcosa’s ever-growing sound. Their ability to mess with a simple riff (as seen in “Crawling Chaos”) and manifest it into a distorted whirlpool of sound is a testament to their talent and musicianship, and demonstrates their evolution since Rats In The Walls. With the support of Dennis Pleckham and Andy Nelson combined on this release, they have delved deeper into the dark minds of Lovecraftian creatives, and come up with a whirlpool of gargantuan riffs, mesmerising breaks and sheer force. Who needs vocals, right?
Ocean is More Ancient Than The Mountains Track Listing:
01. Crawling Chaos
02. Madness At Sea
Run Time: 19:25 Release Date: July 19, 2019 Record Label: Sludgelord Records