Sheffield based trio Kurokuma have gradually been making a name for themselves in the UK heavy music scene. Equal parts primitive brutality and mind-bending psychedelia, Kurokuma will bring a fresh dose of exotic heaviness to the extreme music scene in 2022 with their debut album Born of Obsidian, set for release on 4th February. 

Recorded in London with Sanford Parker (YOB, Eyehategod, Indian) at Narcissus Studio, the Sheffield-based psychedelic sludge trio have been sharpening their mantra-like songwriting since forming in late 2013, finally culminating in a debut album that melds their expansive ideas and abrasive influences together perfectly.

Always ones to avoid the traditional tropes of the doom and sludge metal scene, Kurokuma have often embraced different elements into their ‘heavy’ sound. This includes the worlds of Latin rhythm, kraut-rock and electronica, most recently evident in 2019 when they became the first artist to put out a metal release on legendary underground electronic music label, Off Me Nut with an EP titled, Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol.1.

Born of Obsidian traverses various subgenres of metal while maintaining a unified atmosphere all of its own. Thematically it digs deep into the ancient history of major Mesoamerican civilisations; concepts range from Aztec deities, such as Tezcatlipoca and human sacrifice to the god of sun, Huitzilopochtli, to priests’ use of seeds and mushrooms in divine religious ceremonies.  

We asked each member of the band to tell us about one record that have influenced them musically and why…

Mastodon – Remission (George – bass)

I was 11 when I accidentally discovered this album on a Local Area Network. Having only ever been exposed to my dad’s Romanian gypsy music CDs up till that point, I had found something that made my blood boil in a good way and drew inspiration from it. The raw power and dynamics in this album have hardly ever been matched by others since (including Mastodon), and is something I strive towards in my own music. Fifteen years later it still hits me like a train.

Faith No More – Angel Dust (Jake – guitar/vocals)

The 1-2 punch of The Real Thing and Angel Dust was like nothing else in alt rock history. 

Faith No More had already established themselves as an oddball entity that did whatever they wanted by the time Patton joined. And yes, The Real Thing will probably go down as the album the band are best known for. But it’s the unhinged confidence, wild variety and undercurrent of subversive contempt running through Angel Dust that really inspired me to be my own person, both as a musician and a human being.

Norma Jean – Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child (Joe – drums)

When I first heard this it wasn’t for me, but my naive ears just weren’t ready. As time has passed I’ve come to appreciate just how visceral and nasty it is, but with moments of beauty, and it’s kept me coming back time and time again. Drummer Daniel Davison killed it. It mostly sounds like getting hacked to pieces in a dirty abattoir. It’s produced to perfection, just letting the instruments do their thing.

Norma Jean went downhill after Josh Scogin left to start The Chariot, but I hope at least some of the intensity and directness of this album has been carried over to how I play drums. And now I’m looking at the album art, the colours are very similar to Born of Obsidian.

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