That two musicians – Tom Coroner and Infernal Vlad – have stepped out from the heavily spiked and corpsepainted ranks of Maniac Butcher with not one but two mindbending bands is already quite a surprise in itself.
But it’s actually the extent to which they’ve thrown conventions out of the window with both Cult Of Fire and now Death Karma that is truly astounding.
Even if at their core, Death Karma are still a malevolent collision of black and death, it might well be the duo’s very own definition of what ‘progressive’ is. As ambitious as it is peculiar – each of the six tracks here deals with a specific country’s approach to death and all the ceremonies connected to it – musically speaking this is still challenging, leaving last year’s acclaimed, more traditional debut EP far behind. There’s a larger spectrum of instrumentation – not least a Hammond organ – at work and the intricate yet subtle guitar harmonies are a luminous new element. A departure, yet one that suggests these adventurous spirits are just getting started.