Kurokuma – Born Of Obsidian (Self-released)

Try to label Kurokuma. We dare you.

Because as soon as you try to lay a tag on the trio’s music, it slithers off into the primordial jungle, out of reach.

Yep, the Sheffield band have done Desertfest, toured with Conan, appeared in documentary film Doom Doc and launched their own Cannabis seed, KuroKush.

They inhabit a landscape of tectonic riffs and dense atmospherics.

They’re right at home in the UK’s heavy underground.

But they don’t sound like anyone else in it.

For Kurokuma tap into something on the fringe of consciousness. Their music swirls through the mists of deep rainforests.

Jaguar – the first single from this debut – is inspired by the pre-Aztec Olmec culture. It is a cascade of ceremonial percussion and throbbing bass. The track was written, say the band, as an invocation, rather than a song.

And you’ll believe them.

Kurokuma conquer with Born Of Obsidian

Born Of Obsidian has been a long time in gestation.

We’ve only had a small clutch of demo material, EPs, singles and splits since they emerged in 2013.

But the wait for a full-length opus – produced by Sanford Parker no less – has been worth it.

The band’s fixation on ancient Mesoamerica manifests in songs such as Sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli, a track laden with brutal riffs and the scent of ritual slaughter. Jacob Mazlum’s roar maximises the intensity. Opener Smoking Mirror is similarly devastating.

Flip to the incredible Under The Fifth Sun though, and you’re pulled into a vortex of hypnotic krautrock and shimmering sonic radiance, before a shroud of crushing fretwork darkens the horizon.

And on Ololiuqui, the interplay between drummer Joe Allen, bassist George Ionita and Mazlum – who also handles guitars – is entrancing.  

Psychedelic sludge? Mystical doom? Shamanic stoner?

Who cares what you call Kurokuma’s powerful, sonic trips.

They’ll take you to another place and time.  

And sometimes, that’s just what you need.

Check out our top 10 bands to watch in 2022 – including Kurokuma – here.