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AMN Reviews: Kurushimi – Return III: Death (2022; Art As Catharsis)

Landing somewhere between drone metal and skronk jazz, Kurushimi is a project of Andrew Mortensen (bass and guitars), with help from two additional guitarists, three vocalists, two saxophonists, and two percussionists. Consisting of two tracks running a total of 26 minutes, Return III: Death packs a lot of energy into an EP-length offering.

The title track takes up the lion’s share of the album, clocking in at over 20 minutes. It features dense power chords moving at varying speeds, shouted and growled vocals, wailing saxes, and ferocious drumming. Think of the type of hellscape that might result from a collaboration of Sunn O))) with The Flying Luttenbachers and you’re getting warm. Matt Hollenberg (known for his efforts in John Zorn’s Simulacrum among many other recordings and performances) provides a soaring speed-picked solo over suffocating drones and squeaking sax.

Given its basis in drone, there is little in the way of traditional melodic or rhythmic structure, aside from a few repeating drum patterns. Instead, the tension is amped up to the maximum level and only released every few minutes. Eventually, the track juxtaposes slower chording and guitar feedback with rapid-fire sax motifs and breathy vocals before ending with a densely-packed passage incorporating all musicians.

The Cold Light of the Mirror is a more conventional metal offering with a repeating riff, long-held high notes on the guitar, and workman-like drumming. A single vocalist sings in pseudo death metal style, and the solo is provided by dueling saxes. Perhaps not as fun as its lengthy predecessor, but still an enjoyable track.