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Romasa Fills a “Sepulchral Form” with Pure Sludge and Crust


Sludge is a contentious metal subgenre in that it is easier felt than described. The reason for this phenomenon is that its forefathers did not set out to discover fire — rather, it was a happy accident formed through the context of their environment. When molasses-dripped air meets tepid waters, a slow and sordid sucker punch is released: while sludge has spread across the country and even across the pond, ground zero will always be New Orleans. Fortunately, even as the trendier stylings of blackgaze and noise tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to embodying metal modernity, Romasa keep their hometown heritage alive with an inventive twist.

Birthed just a short time ago in 2017, Romasa has been hard at work in the DIY scene, releasing a demo tape and supporting shows with the likes of Withered and Ringworm. The three-piece found each other through the tides of Craigslist with the hopes of blending sludge, 1990s hardcore, and even a dash of post-metal. Few aliases could be as fitting, as their name refers to the unlikely glitter that can be dissected from the grotesque. Indeed, performing the musical equivalent of street fights offset by carnivalesque wonder and an incoming rainstorm is a bit of an acquired taste, at least on paper. The experience of listening, however, makes for a treat for the senses as you feel yourself getting hypnotically pulled through the crowd in different directions.

And Romasa extends their grip with their first-ever full-length Cheering Death. The tape’s five solidly built tracks are amplified by the chaos embraced in the striking macabre visuals of Ogi. Most notably, the music behind the madness of collaged eyeballs, snakes, and bones was recorded in just two days with the helping hand of James Whitten (The Body, Thou). The truncated period of time was perhaps the best conditions in which to catch this emotive discourage into a jar. The lightning takes form in the icy blasts of vocalist Matthew Moorin, whose varied guitar talents shouldn’t go unnoticed. Like a fly hitting glass walls, drummer Rob Lovell (Ossacrux, Witch Burial) and bassist Samael White (Witch Burial) also provide a vivid rhythm section that keeps matters highly-stimulating.

Some high points on Cheering Death include the initial smack of opener “Sepulchral Form” (premiering exclusively below) after a series of suspense-building feedback. This measure helps sets the tone of the album as a punishing feat, but nevertheless, many pleasant surprises are still in store. The post-metal aspects of this album are what makes it uniquely its own. With smooth transitions in mind, the title track wanes gracefully from crushing crust to shivering experimentation. The shift cleanses the palate for the beauty of “Pleasure is My God” which interjects a glimmer of purity in the middle of hellish debauchery. Ultimately, Cheering Death concludes by fuzing both roads; an understated, yet mighty post-rock riff is swept up in the static seas of sludgy savagery.

It is Romasa themselves who describe this project most aptly, promising “tasty riffs, beefy bass lines, and meaty rhythms.” Truly, Cheering Death is as decadent as it is primitive.

Cheering Death releases March 1. Pre-orders are available on Bandcamp.

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