A Cunning Man – To Heal A Broken Body [EP Review]

A Cunning Man - To Heal A Broken BodyI have no idea if Scottish Metal is a legit thing, but if so then apparently this is it. So let’s keep up our shit hot rep that we currently have going with Scotland and check this out.

Over the years I have realised that metal really isn’t my thing. I think the one reason is how seriously most metal bands take themselves. That and the flouncy guitar thing that a lot of them do; I’d rather a song made entirely of dead notes and feedback. But, I can’t exactly run a review site and be so closed minded, so I slapped this EP all over my face a few times.

First things first, this isn’t any of that stereotypical or commercial crap that most bands try to be, so that’s an immediate win there. This is, however, one of those concept thingamabobbies which I struggle with. I can listen to bands like Mastodon all day, but I think I’m a bit too punk at heart to get wood over these grander types. That said, I didn’t not enjoy this EP. Maybe because we are only dealing with 3 tracks here so it wasn’t quite an hour long feat to persevere with.

Getting to what is actually on offer though, the structures are one key piece that make A Cunning Man enjoyable for me. That fragmented element to the timings will always get my interest, and the utilisation for this is as good as it gets (unless we start going into Mutation territory of course). Abramelin & The Sliver Hand is probably most the notable example with this for the implementation around the interwoven piano sections which really help to add depth to the song.

I have to note another typical problem which A Cunning Man have avoided. As abstract as they go, they don’t push anything too far. Easy target being the guitars. They are by no means dull and act as a strong lead to the metal sound, but at no point is there any overkill shredding or solos forced in here. And the drums, although again littered with fills, aren’t trying to pass off as unbelievably amazing through the power of constant blasting across a 50-piece kit.

The metal aspect is, if you can’t tell already, the more melodic kind with properly sung vocals, as opposed to just screams/growls/general face noises. There is a lot of atmospheric background sound building on the classical elements, in some cases a more progressive touch, with some segments providing quiet breaks within the tracks.

I think the key “Scottish” aspect is drawn to the vocals. The strong accent is a thing, but not a thing that would have made me otherwise call it Scottish Metal. But it makes it sound more interesting so fuck it, why not. There are, however, short spoken word segments which, sure for one or two tracks, but at least in To Heal A Broken Body it is in every single one. It may be part of the concept thing, who knows, but yeah. That’s a thing as well.

Talking of things, if Metal is your thing, then this should most definitely be of interest to you. To be honest, if you lost interest at “Scottish Metal”, then that would probably be the only reason not to at least preview the tracks. If I can talk about them so positively, then that’s surely something! Plus, it’s a name your price so ignoring it would just be rude.

Rating: 7.0/10

Jake Hancke – 11/03/2018

To Heal A Broken Body is available now via BandCamp as a Name Your Price and is streamable via SoundCloud.

You can find more on A Cunning Man on Facebook and YouTube.

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