Let’s just get this out of the way up front: you’re going to hit play on The Frozen Casket, the new EP from Smolensk, Russia-based death/thrash band Cist, and roughly thirty seconds into opening track “Antiseptic” you’re going to think something along the lines of “holy shit, this sounds like it could be an outtake from Death’s Scream Bloody Gore sessions.” And about 30 seconds into “Incubation,” the EP’s second track, you’re likely going to think the same thing, at which point you may well be tempted to dismiss them as another Gruesome type of band and go on about your day.
That would be a mistake. Don’t do that.
With all due respect to Matt Harvey and company, Cist play with a hunger that few other bands can match. It’s not just an affectation, either. When discussing their recording process, guitarist Nikolay Komshukov said “We recorded the EP in the Cist basement. Unfortunately this room was not heated, and in winter over here it can get very cold! I was forced to write guitars wearing a coat!” Is that where title The Frozen Casket came from? Possibly. Is it why the riffs and lead breaks come barreling out of the speakers at hyper speed? Why vocalist Vitaliy Luschenkov screams with the urgency of someone just diagnosed with a terminal disease? Why drummer Mikhail Shtrudel attacks his drums like he just found out they were fucking his girlfriend?
My guess? Yes, yes, and yes. The Frozen Casket is some of the realest shit you’re going to hear in 2018 – guaranteed to elevate your heart rate, get your fist pumping, and wreck your neck with the inevitable windmill bangs. Cist also makes it sound incredibly easy, even though it was anything but. According to Komshukov, “I wrote so many riffs and had to make sure I was happy with everything that made it onto the EP. Plus, we couldn’t seem to find a sound-engineer who could get the results we wanted which meant I had to do everything (mixing and mastering) myself, without having a lot of experience!”
Fortunately, Cist hooked up with Camo Pants Records for the cassette release of The Frozen Casket. Even though it’s the label’s first release, the band still found working with the label to be a rewarding experience. Once again, in the words of Komshukov, “Working with Camo Pants Records has been awesome for us. They helped us get some excellent promotion! Camo Pants have done excellent work! We really like it!”
The Frozen Casket will be available on super limited edition cassette (there are two copies left as I’m typing this) on March 16 from Camo Pants Records. As an added incentive, the physical release includes two bonus live tracks – so get over there and snag one of the final copies, and then hit play and jam one of the best old-school death metal records you’re likely to hear this year.