Skullcave: Climbing EP

- Self-annointed doom-gaze/pop sludge Perthians Skullcave are to drop their second EP Climbing on indie label Fat Shan’s. They carefully let the lead single How To Tell You’re Winning off the leash along with the EP’s sleek cover art on Soundcloud earlier in September, it’s clear to see that Skullcave are looking to expand their fanbase and take their music project a little more seriously. While mixing together early heavy metal sounds with later sludge/stoner-metal is not at all unheard of, attempting to call on the spirit of a poppier shoegaze influence is fairly unique. Like a jungle layman trying to find The Phantom’s mysterious Skullcave, I found myself a little lost for inspiration on this record. Upon first listen the Climbing EP appeared to be straight-up major chord doom with a fair helping of sludgy heavy metal stuff in the tradition of Electric WizardKyussSleepBlack Sabbath, etc. When I did my homework on the relatively new band that is Skullcave, consisting of Liam Young on drums and vox, Jay Marriott on guitar and Steven Turnock on bass, I discovered their desire to take on this shoegaze/doom/post-metal crossover. You can feel in their music that they wanted to take the traditional sounds of classically inspired doom-metal in a lighter, cathartic direction; hence the abundance of major chord progressions and less of the evil distortion and feedback typical of sludge metal. Thematically the EP is part grandiose, determined and cynical, the light instrumental track Falling would not be out of place accompanying a hobbit falling off a mountain and on then on the EP’s eponymous Climbing, let’s all just assume that it’s the Michael Bay soundtrack to a hobbit’s next logical move after falling off of a mountain. How To Tell You’re Winning is simultaneously the longest and most concentrated dosage of what they've got to offer: languid lyrics, heavy sludge riffs and a plodding yet dynamic percussion line. With other song titles like Am I Crossing Over and Waking Up, Wanting More, maybe Skullcave can’t tell if they are winning. To their credit, Skullcave secured the fine efforts of Adam Round and Jay Brandner as recording engineers, known for their live work with Tame Impala, and the international mastering sensibilities of one Brad Boatright, Portland-based Audiosiege engineer for YobSleep and Code Orange, so expect high fidelity. Skullcave launch Climbing October 16 at Jimmy’s Den in Northbridge, Perth.

- Matt Hall.

Album Details

Album Title: Climbing EP
Artist: Skullcave
Record Label: (Fat Shan's)