Published Jun 08, 2020Mount Cyanide is a Toronto-based three piece featuring Nick Sewell of Biblical and members of noise rock outfit Gush Underdrive. Formed as an outlet to explore Sewell's extreme metal side, the band's noisy debut explores both new and familiar territory for its members, to varying degrees of success.
This album is a blend of many genres. Each member shows off the chops they honed in their previous bands, bringing hints of noise, psych and stoner rock to the table. It's unfortunate that the old school black and death metal at the heart of this album is often the least interesting — the darkly melodic tremolo picking in album opener "Malabar" and the palm muted power chord riff from "Futurewretch" feel done to death. The only band member who truly feels at home in this style is drummer Jim Gerring, who lays down some serious blast beats on heavier songs such as "Alternate Ending."
When it's not exploring black metal, Mount Cyanide's debut is also often engaging in noise. "Roman Numerals" drops the metal thing all together for some METZ-esque headbanging rock. There are moments on this album when noise and metal overlap, but it sounds as if the screeching guitars are trying to mask the music rather than enhance it. The instrumental "Hidden Entrance" is one of the best songs on the album and also one of the farthest from noise or black metal, featuring a transition from mellow clean guitars to a swell of lush distortion and synthesizers with a blackgaze blast beat near the end. "Horsecrime" is by far the best effort at a metal song on this album, with much heavier and colder guitars than the rest.
There's something to be said for a debut that takes risks like Mount Cyanide's, but unfortunately it is not always met with reward. If the band were to play to their strengths of rock and noise and add black metal to that, rather than trying to add their strengths to black metal, they would probably have a more developed sound. But as it stands, this album feels more like a first draft. (Independent)