Cauldron Black Ram – Stalagmire (20 Buck Spin)

Sunday, 6th April 2014
Rating: 6.5/10

This ain’t your father’s pirate metal, eh? By that, we’re referencing the first band of this ilk, Germany’s Running Wild, who had the costumes, lyrical themes, and mildly enjoyable power/thrash going in the 80s, not to mention main dude “Rock ‘N’” Rolf Kasperzak. They don’t make nicknames like that anymore. Bouts of nostalgia and/or need to explore Under Jolly Roger aside, South Australia’s Cauldron Black Ram also consider themselves to be a pirate metal band, albeit it, a dank and sludgy one, which invariably turns their third album Stalagmire into a draw.

In an effort to move around the ultra-restrictive confines of sludge and everything around it, Cauldron Black Ram works in some death and thrash elements to at least push the pace. If they didn’t, then this thing would be a total clunker. However, the band’s riffs aren’t terribly exciting; they’re just tuned low, short on notes, and don’t create much separation, save for “From Whence the Old Skull Came,” one of the few songs that develops something more than a trudge-a-long. “A Litany of Sailor’s Sins” would perhaps be the other song of value, opening with a devastatingly heavy lurch and slow grind that is reminds one of Celtic Frost, just without the intrepid character.

Since the vocals are of the grunted variety and there’s no intake of hokey and/or sing-a-long moments, it’s hard to decipher on the surface if Cauldron Black Ram really are a pirate metal band. But, alas, the band claims they are, which is all the proof we need. That still doesn’t account for the largely pedestrian and bland nature of Stalagmire, though. Does this mean we’ll be walking the plank?

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