I realise that Kasium’s self-produced Premonition EP was released a good three years ago, but it’s a release I thought I needed to draw attention to. I’m not sure why these guys haven't taken off more than they have, they have a lot riding for them; the dark look, the rock angst, the cultural commentary video. Perhaps this age of ignorance is to blame, the fact that they’re a Kiwi band, or maybe the band would be better suited for 1999 when pop music didn't suck (if you tell me rock is dead, I’ll drop one on your foot).
The sound is self-described as post-grunge-alternative-rock, which is another way of describing the sound produced by bands who collectively listen to Tool, a Perfect Circle, Deftones, Korn and Marilyn Manson. I’d much prefer the term Nonchalant Rock; the music, with its complicated time signatures and distorted guitars are effortless, as if it is emanating out of the three Bogans wearing black and leaning on a building with their hands in their pockets, as opposed to being produced by them.
In many ways it sounds like Chevelle’s Point #1, in other ways it’s what Silverchair should have sounded like. Unlike Silverchair, Kasium hasn’t had a washed-out 90s producer stab their fatty hedonistic finger up their arse and turn them into a pop puppet.
Drowned has quite a bright tone for such a gloomy track. It starts of quiet then alternates between quiet patches of subdued bass and guitar and alternative rock guitar riffs. The voice is a cross between Marilyn Manson’s Brian Warner when he’s not being a tool and Simon Oakes from Peach. There are pieces of the song that feel a lot like Tool’s ‘46&2’ and System of a Down’s ‘Spiders.’
Fear of flying is a melancholic Nirvana toned guitar and Incubus voices. The chorus is more Marilyn Manson in the spooky kids days and Alice in Chains riffagry. The song fluctuates between cold silence and the dirty heavy grunge of distorted guitars. For the most part you either feel down or beaten down, with the only high point being the Pearl Jam-esque closing lines.
Classic grunge gives way to alt rock in ‘Closing my Eyes,’ one of the more Korn-inspired moments on the EP, with Kieran’s voice sounding more than a little like the legendary Jonathan Davis at times.
The earworm in the addictive refrain is sure to repeat long after the song is over.
Another Nirvana moment in the opening of ‘All Alone,’ the vocals edging closer to Scotty Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. The Nirvana picking turns momentarily into a Perfect Circle riffing and rhythm before fading back into the next verse.
While the EP is cohesive and easily digestible, Bubblegum is the albums outlier. This is not to discredit the song. It’s epic in the same way Tool’s ‘Third Eye’ is epic. Long, complicated and experimental as fuck.
The album is hollow and desolate, which is most of the appeal. It’s something to enjoy through headphones in a dark room during an introspective, angst-ridden mood. For the right person it’s something to enjoy over a bowl of coco-pops before heading off to university, or your job at the local supermarket. Look out for the new album from these guys, tentatively slated for the later half of 2011, or if you’re looking from something different try Kieran’s solo work on ReverbNation or Bandcamp. And above all else, spread the word; it’s well worth the listen.
Kasium is Kieran Cooper, Chris Birch & Paul Braddock playing a unique brand of post-grunge-alternative-rock. Formed in 2008 in Auckland, New Zealand, the 3 piece have written and recorded their debut EP 'Premonition' and produced a video for the track 'Drowned'. Currently working on a full length studio album with new material and an evolving sound. This has all been interspersed with numerous live shows for of a growing and appreciative audience