It’s fair to say that supergroups have a somewhat, er, “chequered” history, ranging from the good (A Perfect Circle), to the bad (remember Them Crooked Vultures? Gosh that was boring), to the ugly (Audioslave *audible shudder*). However, most supergroups don’t involve Daniel P. Carter, former bassist of ‘A’ and overlord of British alternative music as the presenter of BBC Radio 1’s The Rock Show. Here he brings together disparate but crucially excellent fragments of homegrown talent, including members of legendary acts like SikTh and Gallows and lesser lights such as Cry For Silence and vocalist Simon Wright’s former outfit, Canaya. They come together to form Krokodil, a bludgeoning sludge-metal behemoth named for a drug that does… well, search it on Google Images for yourself. Not for the faint of heart.
It’s quite fitting that on their recent UK jaunt, prog-metal giants Mastodon chose to bring Krokodil out for the ride, because the sound of ‘Nachash’ is severely indebted to that of their earlier material (i.e., back when they were still good), alongside acts like Cave In, Baroness and no small amount of elements from bassist Leach and drummer Foord’s recently reunited tech-metallers SikTh. Opener ‘Shatter’ reveals all these influences and more besides, creating a racket that lives up to its name when cranked up to the hilt and providing an excellent scene-setter for the record to come. What’s quite striking about this album is the song length; whereas many records of this ilk tend to lose themselves in ponderous jams, rarely does a track here trouble the five-minute mark, creating a solid set of hard-hitting, concise monster riffage that hits right in the temple. Such is the case in songs like a ‘A Life Lived In Cooper But Painted In Gold’, a blistering rocker with an almost tribal groove, like if Red Fang were fronted by Max Cavalera of Soulfly & Sepultura.
However, just when you had this album down as a pure hardcore battering-ram, along comes the deft Isis-esque post-metal of ‘The Collapse’ and the delicate instrumental passage ‘Ragnarok’ (an apocalyptic event in Norse mythology) calling Mogwai to mind. The impressive guestlist this record boasts continues to swell when Simon “Biffy Clyro” Neil shows up on ‘Sun Raiders’ to provide a vocal spot in a song that continues the slower feel of the second half of the record. However, this tempo is taken up a notch on the turbo-charged djent of ‘Sobek’, a song that takes each member to the utmost of their technical ability and the three-pronged guitar attack proving they are more than up to the task, not to forget Foord’s jaw dropping polyrhythmic drumming providing a solid basis and the sullen roar of Simon Wright a constant strong calling card throughout the album’s course.
What the future holds for this band is anyone’s guess, what with radio shows and being part of touring bands, including Max Venturella’s unconfirmed officially (but almost certainly the case) part in Slipknot, but one hopes this is not a one-time venture, as this certainly shows great potential. Sure, it shows its influences on its sleeve at times, but the seamless blending of those elements makes ’Nachash’ all the more impressive. Supergroups are usually an excuse for bored musicians to escape from the day job and indulge, but Krokodil have brought some respectability back to the much-sullied name by creating something that has more meat on it than sheer vainglorious ego-stroking; Killer Be Killed take note.
‘Nachash’ by Krokodil is out now on Spinefarm Records.
Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)