Release: 'Coscradh' demo (2016) - Digital
As some lament the ageing demographic of Ireland's underground and its old guard hold aloft a seemingly unwanted mantel to virtually non-existent young blood, Coscradh let loose one of the most anticipated domestic releases of recent years.
Despite worries surrounding inheritance and longevity, Irish underground music is in one of its best states. Coscradh are one of a handful of acts, a mixture of active and still brewing entities, that are set to push more and more heavy music to audiences at home and abroad.
Interestingly, given the size of Ireland and its quite tightly knit underground, Coscradh are yet another band that have developed a sound all their own. In itself, this is testament to the very real passion that drives Ireland's most noteworthy metal acts, a bracket Coscradh look set to squeeze into over the next while.
Supported by veteran label Invictus Productions, the band's self-titled demo is a surprising listen. Coscradh's earliest mention of activity was accompanied by the ubiquitous influence list, which, understandably, got many proponents of the nastier end of black/death metal suitably excited. Ireland has been bereft of such filth for some time, especially after the unfortunate disappearance of the now legendary Lethiferous.
While impassioned, live appearances to date have failed to demonstrate well just what Coscradh are conjuring with their output. The demo's adept mixing and mastering utilises a robust presentation that strips back all the interferences that can be encountered live, allowing the racket breathing space and revealing a definitely unexpected groove to proceedings.
Though early rumours of the band's progress and approach talked of a Teitanblood-esque, heads-down din, listeners are instead treated to tracks that speak of Sepultura's death/thrash era, complete with discernible, if standard, riffing and well-timed tempo variations.
A true standout feature across the demo's proclamations are fantastically possessed, throat shredding, reverb-drenched vocals that aid in retaining the quartet's more murky intentions, which are best heard when the band slows down; there's a veritable Isengard essence audible in the demo's second track "Lynch".
Amid pounding percussion, which jumps between mid-tempo rollicking and machine-gun blasting with ease, fittingly wailing solos cut through portions of the demo's more compelling, layered sections, as the guitars wind about one another and an excellently prominent bass holds sway over affairs.
What quickly becomes very clear is that Coscradh are toying with some enthralling notions from track to track, and while many of these find room to breathe at points, they are regretfully cut short in favour of a return to the style the band are, more than likely, most comfortable with currently.
As a statement of intent, this debut is suitably loud and assuredly tantalising in its revealing of a young band tuned into black/death metal's nuances and inherent madness, all mixed with grimy doom elements. A future concentration on these aspects could see something truly monstrous manifest and nestle nicely among the likes of compatriots Zom and Malthusian.
Added to this, it is refreshing to see an Irish band take on the darker aspects of Irish history and folklore by sidestepping gift store Celtic-ness in favour of the threefold death and the violence of bog burials.