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Wormholedeath Records

February 24

Words by Kris Peters

One look at the name of this Melbourne crustmetal/deathpunk outfit I am about to review is enough to win me over on its own.

Even with the funny dots over the vowels, it is still pretty easy to make out the name Kuntsquad and having led a few charges of similar brigades in my lifetime I’m pretty sure I am up for the challenge.

The press release tells us that Kuntsquad are a four-piece death/black/doom metal and crusty punk-influenced outfit led by guitar-wielding frontwoman Paula Condell.

Knowing how music genres are haphazardly bandied about these days I choose to ignore all of the above and simply hit play so that I can judge for myself.

The album is self-titled – and yes I am resisting the temptation to say the band name repeatedly already.

It is the quartet’s debut offering and if the ferocity of lead single Gods Of War is anything to go by I’m pretty sure the neighbors are already thanking me for sitting down to write with headphones on.

Upon quick examination of the song titles the shortness of each track stands out immediately so without further fucking around let’s join Kuntsquad on their merry way.

Black opens the album with what sounds like someone trying to gasp for air from underneath water (possibly with someone’s foot on their throat) giving off an early sense of menace before Condell lets us know from the outset she isn’t here to fuck around with an almighty death growl that carries the track through to the end of its 32-second running time.

Fair call.

Slave also starts with some weird noises, possibly someone kicking around an empty jar? But the jar must break or the kicker becomes bored rather quickly as the music descends like a blanket of carnage, the sheer weight of its heaviness a crushing force on its own.

I must say from the outset that this kind of music isn’t normally high on my rotation, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy and appreciate it.

And appreciate it I am so far, with a tirade of guitars spewing forth from the darkness before the titular Slave is once more summoned for service.

Gods Of War blasts out of the speakers next and leaves an instant impression. It is heavier than an elephant on a donut binge and as dense as the fog in your darkest evil fairytale.

I honestly can’t understand a word but the music is still strangely captivating. The vocals are a definite driving force and drip with venomous intent, partly fueled by the gruff and unrelenting savagery with which they are delivered.

Necro Nightmare fires to action with a menacing guitar riff over a couple of china dances from drummer Adam Holmes that soon descends into sonic calamity as guitarist Steve Esler combines with Condell in a blisteringly rapid guitar exchange that is soon decimated by Condell’s vocal aggression.

And what aggression she has! But in a good way, if that makes sense.

For some reason Stomp makes me think of the movie Romper Stomper, and it quickly lives up to expectations with a frenetically savage guitar riff that calls forth Condell’s inner demon once more.

This track definitely has its roots in hardcore punk and gives off a wickedly different and sinister vibe that further explores the sonic realm inhabited by Kuntsquad.

My pick of the bunch so far.

Xhrist starts with what can only be someone hanging a piss – how Australian – but before said person can miss and piss on the floor the music kicks in presumably to awaken said person should they actually be sleep pissing. Don’t laugh. It happens all the time.

This track is fast enough that if the phantom pisser was forced to clean up his/her own mess then it would take them fuck all time because this song makes you have to do whatever it is you are doing quickly and with urgency. Now I’m starting to warm up!

Psych Ward B reminds me of home, and the schizophrenic guitar intro and rapid-fire vocals give off an overwhelming sense of unrest. This song has an abundance of timing changes, but they happen so quickly that unless you were concentrating you would hardly notice. And that, my friends, is the sign of a talented musical craftsperson right there.

While the vocals are still sinister enough to wake the dead they are also strangely comforting until the sound of bats flying off into the night consumes my earholes and I find myself whispering “I am Batman”…

Thankfully the next song has no reference to bats in the title, but with a name like Soul Resist I would bet my last dollar (if I had one) that someone’s inner consciousness is about to be violated.

The band are referring to themselves in the first few lines – I think – as the word Kuntsquad seems to be the only audible and intelligible lyric. There are more, of course, but I still have no idea.

This track is more on the sludgier side of metal, but still as ferocious as a cut rattlesnake.

Vomitorium Compendium sounds like something you would say on a first date when you wanted to go home early. It starts with a spoken monologue seemingly delivered by a medical practitioner but even though he is speaking clearly, and concisely I still have no idea what the fuck he is talking about. But that’s doctors for you.

I’m pretty sure Condell isn’t happy with the diagnosis either because she lets him have it with both barrels. I know if I was her doctor I would be letting her write her own scripts to avoid potential disembowelment.

Sit Down fires up next and thank fuck I already am because the vocal tirade spat in my direction would have easily knocked me on my ass had I dared disobey. I don’t know if Cordell is angry or if this is just her way of expressing herself, but I find myself employing the smile and nod routine subconsciously just in case.

The musicianship on display here is awesome and controls the ebbs and flows with reckless abandon, which allows Cordell to do what she does effectively.

Take Control is another swirling maelstrom of musical ambivalence, with shrieking guitars seemingly at war with their vocalist and if I were a betting man I would say that the guitars are gradually starting to win this little battle.

I like this one.

Psycho Killer opens with a jackhammer or something similar before the guitars pound the pavement and begin the chant of Psycho Killer. It seems like the band are on the opposite side to this deranged madman, but I can’t quite be sure.

Again, the musical interplay here is a dominant driving force, and it is finally starting to dawn on me that once a person like me can get past the vocal brutality there is quite a lot of other stuff competing for your attention.

Out Alive has a massively heavy riff to lead the way but soon turns into another punk-infused slab of metal mayhem that is accentuated by different vocal techniques employed by Cordell that caress the line between insanity and pure genius.

Fuck, here we are at the last song, which, strangely enough, is called Fuck.

What a great word, just remind me not to let my kids read the track listing back to me any time soon.

This track is a heavy as fuck closing passage of music that begins with as much punch and aggression that Kuntsquad delivered on the first face-melting track that busted my speakers what seems like a lifetime ago.

Am I converted after listening to this?

No. Fuck no.

But have I found an outlet through which to purge even the darkest of inner demons before going to bed?

Yes. Fuck yes.

Coming from someone who doesn’t normally listen to music this brutally heavy you can either respect my opinion or not. I don’t care either way. But what I will say is this is a quality debut album by Kuntsquad that will undoubtedly serve as merely the opening salvos of a sonic assault on the musical landscape that Kuntsquad are already favourites to slaughter.

Great name, better album.

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