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Quick review: Kerasphorus' "Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn

Kerasphorus - Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn
Kerasphorus - Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust DawnMetal Archives

Kerasphorus - Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn

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Spawned in 2009 in San Francisco, California, the entity known as Kerasphorus roared into existence like a stellar flare, only to die away just as swiftly. The band’s only utterance, an EP titled Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn, stands as a testament to the uncompromising talent and passion that birthed this short-lived project.

Beginning with a minute-and-a-half crawl of an introduction, the band subsequently tears into four songs of absolutely vicious death metal. Like an updated Order from Chaos (a band once fronted by bassist / vocalist Pete Helmkamp), Kerasphorus invoke chaotic yet strangely coherent songs that have a knack for summarizing themselves, despite near-constant unorthodox changes and turnarounds. Certainly, it is the band’s tightly knit musical and intellectual vision that allowed them to draw from such a vast lexicon of riffs – everything from blasting rhythm riffing with bursts of blackened beauty to cerebral, Voivodian structures appear – yet still create a solid piece of music in which every small part is a meditation on the concept of the whole.

Helmkamp’s studied and well-enunciated vocal assault boasts of a warlike cosmic philosophy above the precise rhythmic bombast provided by the highly talented and mercenary J. Read. All of this is flanked by the reverb-soaked and cosmos-shaking guitars of B. Wolaniuk. Lyrically, the band explores various occult topics, and the album’s artwork hints at further mysteries hidden within this act’s unique vision.

Whether Kerasphorus ever returns or not, musical art as energetic as Cloven Hooves… should not be overlooked by lovers of the esoteric and the extreme, as even in its singularity it manages to bring both enlightenment and immense gratitude.

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