In light of my desire to include more reviews from local NZ metal bands, Kieran Cooper – vocalist/guitarist of Auckland band Kasium (and producer of I Spit on Your Grave’s debut, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago) – contacted me about doing a review. And here it is:
Kasium’s sound is pure, unaltered 90s stoner / alternative rock. Make no mistake, these guys make no apologies, offer no defense for the derivative style of their songs. They play with the joy of reviving a style and a sound that still excites a certain hold over music lovers in my generation. Although I kind of missed the grunge era or the early 90s, bands like Silverchair, Nirvana, Screaming Trees and especially Alice in Chains are part of the sound of my youth – they were all over the radio, on all the mixtapes made by my musically-inclined friends. Kasium have latched onto this same sound – the soundtrack of kiwi youth – and interpreted it in the context of our own experiences.
Opening track “Halo” has all the elements of a classic 90s alt rock hit: the crooning vocal line dripping with emotion, the deep, rounded riffs and that haunting, repetitive chorus that gets fists pumping. This is soulful, polished stoner rock at its best. “Wasted Years” is another stand-out track, although I found the tapering, proggy bridge perhaps unnecessary for such an excellent song. Kieran swaps between two vocal styles – the rougher, mid-tones on “So Electric” and the deeper, cleaner tones of songs like Halo, and these are normally paired with down-tuned guitars to gut-wrenching effect. Songs like “Feel So Down” and “Redemption” remind me of faster-tempo bands like Mudhoney, Screaming Trees and Monster Magnet, and that’s no bad thing.
With style and substance and a bit of sardonic wit, Kasium have captured the sound of an era. While I can’t say they’ve done anything new or innovative with the genre, they’ve produced a solid, enjoyable release of distinctive, interesting songs that has earned repeat appearances on my playlist.
Kasium have put the entirety of Exhale up for for free download on their bandcamp page. Pop over there to check it out or visit the Official Kasium website or Kasium Facebook page for news and updates.