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“Four Kings”: The Cosmic Fungal Hardcore of Grogus

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If a band is going to label itself with a moniker as badass as “cosmic fungal hardcore,” the music better deliver. On Four Kings, streaming in full exclusively below, Minnesota’s Grogus soars through interplanetary voids filled with invasive extraterrestrial life, primarily of the fungal variety. So yeah: the trio earns the label.

Chalk it up to the long winters and accompanying reality of spending too much time indoors, but metal in Minneapolis lovingly embraces odd-timings, syncopation, and a general pro-math sensibility (you might as well get really good at playing music if you have to stay inside all the time. Grogus follows suit as Four Kings rarely allows listeners to get comfortable with any one riff or section. Much like Coalesce, Grogus likes to toy with people, creating a false sense that the music will settle into a groove but bucking that expectation every time.

The year 2016’s Intuitive Readers and Metaphysical Artisans was a subhuman onslaught. Four Kings harnesses similarly bestial sludgecore but diversifies that approach with extended periods of Khanate-inspired ether as in the epic fourth track “Goat Temple.” That variation works to enhance the sensation of tumbling through strange dimensions inhabited primarily by poisonous mushrooms.

While tracks like “An Oceantomb of Centipedes,” “Biovore,” and “A Call Beyond” reach toward spectral voids of complexity, those songs (and the record as a whole) is driven by a feral hardcore ethos. There are breakdowns — plenty of them — not to mention the fact that Grogus’ live sets typically consist of 20 electrified minutes of relentless purging. “Goat Temple,” which nears the nine-minute mark, casts Four Kings in a ritualistic light as abstract percussion and droning noise creates the sense of stumbling, uninvited, into a sacrificial rite happening in some long-forgotten cavern.

Four Kings releases July 31st via Tridroid Records.

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