18th March 2014 – self-released
01. This Hallowed Sleep
02. Ladder To Manna
03. Give Her Man
04. For Lilith
05. Fingered Carrion
06. Fate, Doom
07. Bled Dreams
08. You’re Me
Taking their name from “Kyma” (translated from Greek as “wave form” or “energy”) and “Matica” (translated from Slovak as “matrix” or “source”), Kymatica play a unique brand of progressive blackened death metal – or “deathened” black metal if you will – boasting a plethora of intriguing dualities in their sound and concept that match the dual heritage of their name.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to catch one of their rare live performances, you might expect to be blown away by a tidal-wave of metallic energy from the first note of their self-titled debut album – but instead you get “This Hallowed Sleep“; a lush, sombre, neoclassical piece – think Rachmaninov meets Godspeed You! Black Emperor – including strings, piano, distant guitars and samples.
This is only temporary, however. “Ladder to Manna” goes for the jugular with the rolling double kicks of drummer Kyle Sheppard and the signature shrieked, raspy vocals and sinister guitars of Kymatica’s mastermind Luke Kaea – but it also goes for the mind; its almost jazzy Cynic-esque leads and the abrupt changes are not unlike legendary Japanese avant-garde metallers Sigh, including Archspire guest bassist Jaron E Vil’s short solo towards the end of the track.
Speaking of low-end, Shawn Hillman’s fretless bass stands out for praise, particularly in the intro of “You’re Me“, a progressive and psychedelic foray into darkness with excellent instrumentation and passages juxtaposed by slow heavy riffing with double-time drums. It’s a great example of what this band is capable of: great riffs, superb musicianship, interesting arrangements, hauntingly surreal atmospheres, and the ability to keep you guessing.
Thanks to keyboardist Anna Kuchkova, there’s a strong neoclassical flourish to tracks like “Give Her Man“; flourishes which are at times reminiscent of Soulblight-era Obtained Enslavement and vintage Arcturus. There#s certainly a Norwegian feel to this track in particular, with some welcomed blast beats and creative, pummelling drumming by Sheppard, who has a Hellhammer-esque (Mayhem, Arcturus, etc.) approach on the kit. His expertise is also apparent in “Bled Dreams“, with its polyrhythmic cymbal work combining with a fantastic bridge of dual melodic guitar leads. There’s a clever, dreamy sort of atmosphere to this one, which I’m sure was intentional.
Segueing nicely, the cosmic cover artwork by Allan Heppner (Lethal Halo) of Azzurri Design really suits the mystical mood of the record, whose vibe becomes heavily exotic and eastern sounding with the opening of “Finger Carrion.“ Similarly, “Fate, Doom“‘s gothic flair, with its poetic spoken word intro and strings, add extra touches outside the raw attack and lush tones, which are brought out beautifully the production of Blue Light Studio’s Kevin Thiessen.
Fans of vintage Cradle of Filth and more symphonic raw black metal like early Arcturus and Emperor will eat this album up. Conversely, fans of more contemporary acts like Abigail Williams and recent Enslaved could get into the nocturnal, progressive nature of Kymatica.