Cult of Dom Keller have long been at the forefront of the contemporary British psych scene but their notorious reputation extends much further afield. They’ve done several tours around the UK, Europe and US, appeared at festivals like Levitation, The Great Escape and Raw Power and likely featured on the bill of just about any international psych fest you can think of. They’ve shared the stage with greats like Roky Erickson, Spectrum, Silver Apples and The Sisters of Mercy, as well as contemporaries like The Black Angels, Fat White Family and Temples (they even had fellow Notts troublemakers Sleaford Mods support them in the early days.)
The new album arrives following last year’s mostly-instrumental Ascend! LP and their third full-length Goodbye To The Light, released back in 2016. Fierce experimentalists, no CODK record has ever sounded the same, to quote the band themselves: “Who wants to make the same record twice? We just do what the f*ck we feel like making”, and their latest LP is no different. They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O is out now via Fuzz Club Records.
They explain; “with all the uncertainty and chaos unfolding in 2020 we managed to create our most experimental and exciting album to date, without there being any point in the whole recording process where all four of us were actually in the same room together! The Covid climate meant that we began to craft this strange beast of an album in a totally different way to all our previous work. It was all recorded, mixed and produced by ourselves meaning we had total control over every noise on the record.
Sometimes it feels you have to make tiny compromises or small sacrifices when someone else records you or mixes your music but this time round we had 100% control and no compromises. This was the exact record we wanted to make. Experimental and playful, moments of light and pure dark. We wanted to f*ck with the listener and pull them in with moments of beauty and chaos, but still retain our songwriting sensibilities”.
Opening with ‘Run From the Gullskinna’ we are met with a wall of sonic noise before a perky riff hooks deep and doesn’t let up. The complex elements mingle into a heady tonic that leaves the senses straining to make sense of what they are hearing. The track really comes into its own after two and a half minutes with a dark blast leading the juxtaposition that continues thereafter. ‘Lyssa’ is an overall darker entity, with a sense of deep foreboding and carefully balanced chaos permeating throughout with musical ties back to their earliest days. ‘Cage the Masters’ is an eclectic combination of sounds, executed in true CODK fashion before ‘She’s Turning into a Serpent’ confronts you with almost unlistenable electronics to begin which weaves into Eastern tones; almost unlistenable but not quite, showing them to be the musical pioneers that their notoriety portends.
‘Infernal Heads’ uses interesting percussion to add a different vibe and the competing elements, seemingly fighting with each other for attention only add to mystique. ‘Psychic Surgery’ and ‘Amazing Enemy’ when combined are the perfect partners; a dose of mayhem combatted by calmer instrumental waves. Talking about the concluding track, they said “The Last King of Hell is a big, big track. What begins with almost a Western sci-fi vibe builds over 7 minutes into a monster of sound. Lyrically it’s about a protagonist who – no matter how hard he tries, and how in harmony he thinks he is with the world – fails to see that he is actually part of the problem. As the track builds and spirals out of control so does our protagonist. Singles shouldn’t be 7-minutes long but who gives a sh*t when it ain’t gonna be played on the radio anyway.” They’re probably not wrong in that line of thinking, but that makes the track no less enchanting, with a motorik beat driving from the core with organised chaos reigning elsewhere.
This LP is the perfect antidote for the times; it’s a statement of intent and doesn’t even try to conform to the industries standards – instead it’s a sonic aural attack, one that should be repeated continually at high volumes.