Folk N Rock
Spotlight Album: Kosmic Attunement to the Malevolent Rites of the Universe – Kamru

It’s a small world, especially in the music industry. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stumbled upon incredible bands, hidden gems that have somehow flown under the radar. As a music journalist, it’s always great to uncover these musical treasures and share them with a wider audience. But what’s even more cool is how interconnected this industry is.

You might meet a lighting tech at a small club in Hoboken, New Jersey, only to run into them again, months later, working on a massive festival stage in Thailand. It shows to the global reach of music and the tight-knit community that supports it, and just how small this industry can be.

In recent years, I’ve been particularly drawn to the music scene in Denver, Colorado. It seems like every genre is represented there, with talented bands. From folk to punk, to folk punk, Denver has it all. And today, I’m revisiting a band that I first discovered about a year ago: Kamru. Which again, shows you just how small this world can be. I mean it’s a band I stumbled upon through one single, roughly a year ago.

Their song “Hexxer,” from their 2022 release “Kosmic Attunement to the Malevolent Rites of the Universe.” So, when the opportunity arose to dive back into this album and share my thoughts, I couldn’t resist.

“Penumbral Litany” kicks off with what I feel is a little bit of an unexpected twist, a percussive intro that channels a distorted, almost spectral echo of swing jazz. This isn’t your parents’ big band, though, as it quickly gives way to a relentless, primal pulse. The drums pound out a hypnotic “bum bum bum,” with this militaristic kind of snare drum style before going into heavy territory.

I mean it’s a fitting prelude to the sludgy guitars that soon comes into play. Now from here on out, it’s a wall of distortion that announces the album’s descent into a murky abyss. Yet, as the instrumentation threatens to suffocate, a beacon of melody pops – a surprisingly soothing vocal line that cuts through the haze like a ray of moonlight piercing a clouded sky. This stark contrast between the ethereal vocals and the crushing weight of the music is really cool. And I think it creates a sound that is both brutal and beautiful.

What I love about this song is the way it captures that old-school doom vibe, the kind of sound that makes me feel nostalgic for the genre’s roots. The interplay between the guitar work and percussion is particularly striking, creating a hypnotic groove that pulls me in. Speaking of timing, the guitar work that kicks in around the 4:24 mark is a real standout moment.

It’s got that hazy, psychedelic feel that’s so appropriate for a stoner metal band. ( I mean, what better way to kick off that guitar work than at around the 4:20 mark) But there’s also a depth of emotion in the playing. It’s a fantastic opener.

Now, “Hexxer” – the track that put them on my radar – comes in with a ferocious guitar riff. Now, I feel like there’s a subtle undercurrent of old-school punk energy lurking beneath the surface, adding an unexpected edge to the track’s brutal sound. It’s a raw, visceral energy that recalls the rebellious spirit of early punk, but I mean it’s tucked away deep, deep in the background.

The vocals, delivered in a gothic rock style, add another layer of menace, with lyrics that evoke dark rituals and occult themes. The delivery is chilling, each line dripping with ominous intent, like a summoning from a forgotten grimoire. His voice is a haunting specter, a whisper from the abyss and man, it just sound great. This is really everything you need in a great doom metal track.

Around the 2:20 mark, the guitar work takes a psychedelic turn, a fuzzy haze that envelops the track and is going to take you to a darker dimension. It’s a dizzying, disorienting effect, like stumbling through a labyrinth of smoke and mirrors. I can’t compliment the guitar work on this record enough – it’s the driving force behind the album’s power.

For me, one of the album’s standout tracks is “Cenotaph.” It’s another prime example of the band’s masterful interplay between guitar and percussion, creating a dynamic tension that sort of keeps on edge. The song builds slowly, with a heavy, ominous atmosphere that steadily intensifies.

The percussion, with its pounding and militaristic snare like rolls, comes through nicely, creating a sense of impending doom. The guitars, meanwhile, deliver a series of crushing riffs that punctuate the rhythmic with this like, start and stop sensation, adding a layer of melodic menace to the mix. This is how you build a good doom metal song – a slow burn that explodes into a raging inferno.

It’s just a track to easily get lost in. Even the lyrics on this track, like the lines “Reaching out, you hear them echoing. Welcoming into the void,” helps to this immersive experience. It’s one of those songs I can get lost in, both musically and lyrically. It makes great background music, but it’s also something you can really sink your teeth into if you want to. It’s the kind of sludge metal that’s not just about aggression and volume, but also about atmosphere and a deeper emotional resonance.

“Dark Rider” takes the swing jazz-inspired percussion of the opening track and cranks it up to eleven. This time, though, instead of diving into the murky depths of doom, the song explodes into a full-on rock assault. The guitars unleash a barrage of riffs that are both heavy and melodic, a headbanging frenzy.

Despite the energetic instrumentation, the track manages to maintain the album’s signature atmospheric vibe, thanks in part to the haunting vocal delivery. This is another example of Kamru’s duality, their ability to blend contrasting elements into a cohesive whole is just awesome.

Speaking of vocal work, this track features some of the most impressive performances on the entire album. His ability to hold out notes and deliver lines with both power and an eerie finesse is really unique. The guitar work is equally impressive, with work during the end of this track.

‘Kosmic Attunement to the Malevolent Rites of the Universe’ is an absolute banger of an album. From start to finish, it’s a great ride, packed with highlights and unexpected twists. Kamru excels at mixing together an ocean of influences, blending elements of gothic rock, late 70s stadium rock, and even hints of punk into their unique brand of doom and sludge metal. There’s a surprising depth and complexity to this record, a richness that unfolds with each song, if you listen to it in a 1-7 order.

This is an album I got completely lost in. With six lengthy tracks, you definitely get your money’s worth. Overall, this is a phenomenal record. If you’re a fan of heavy music with a touch of the macabre, this album is an absolute must-listen.

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Scott