With all the subtlety of a siege machine, Finland's Cavus tests its fortune upon the wide waters of European black metal with their debut Fester and Putrefy. Borne more of Hellhammer, Mayhem and Bathory than a number of their contemporaries, they favor warlike escalation over intricacy, simple bombardments of chords over writhing, hostile melodies, and the deeper than usual vocal tone which borders on a full-bodied, almost Swedish death metal growl over the sniveling rasp so associated with the parent genre. I was perhaps most reminded of fellow Finns Barathrum as I listened through this, due to the storming bass and lack of elegance in the compositions, but the vocals and the thickness of their crushing rhythms distinguish them.
The downside is that for all their applied force, Cavus do feel derivative in a lot of their writing, not to any one band in particular, but the guitar riffs often pan out in predictable patterns and there are very rarely any surprise turns waiting within the depths of these ten tracks. The ring of feedback and vocal swell of "Sea of Tongues" seem interesting, but once the aptly titled "Fist of a Titan" arrives with its big, swinging chords, the atmosphere is parted and you're presented with some savage, but unmemorable black metal, a pattern that continues throughout, though the band's use of caustic noise in "Discovering Through Suffering", or the spacious bombast that haunts the interior of "Death Rattle" do curb much of the potential for monotony. The further you go into the album, the better the rewards, with latecomers "The Sacred Profane" and "Possessed by the Devil's Blood" some of the most fully fleshed, glorious marauders here.
If novelty and innovation are not what you seek, simply the crushing gravity of crude death and black metal, the Fester and Putrefy might sate you for a short time. The tone of the album is sufficiently belligerent and ominous, casting the listener into a rumbling field of war where artillery is rolled on wheels of stone to the gates of palatial paradise, and then let loose upon the seraphim cowered within. It's hostile enough to impede the sunshine, but the riffs are simply too stockpile to provide long enduring menace. I kept attempting to hone in on subtleties behind the calamity of chords, but aside from the ringing of the notes within them there was no vacancy for the virile, viral notation I sought. That said, Cavus do seem content with simply applying the pestle and mortar to your cranium, and there are certainly far less effective black metal albums out there than this one.
Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10]