Jun 07, 2021
By Dom Gourlay
“I die every night and I’m born again.” It’s one of the few decipherable lyrics on They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O. but also the most lucid when it comes to the thought processes behind its creation. It punctuates the uncomfortable dark mess that is “Cage The Masters,” a harrowing piece of experimental psychedelia that sits somewhere between Dead Skeletons’ uncontrollable rage and Fat White Family’s equally morbid but fascinating Songs For Our Mothers. At five-and-a-half minutes long it’s as captivating as it is unsettling. But then that’s what its creators intended.
Which to be fair, Cult of Dom Keller do better than most. Now entering their fifteenth year of existence having emerged in 2007 out of the ashes of several other East Midlands-based garage experimentalists. The four-piece—now situated in and between various parts of Nottingham and Leicester respectively—overcame the bleakness of lockdown and everything it brought to create a record that deals with and overcomes the fear of death. As overriding concepts too, They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O. is a disconcerting listen at times but one that entraps then engages its audience forthwith.
Returning to their spiritual home of Fuzz Club for the fifth Cult of Dom Keller record, They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O. is comprised of eight pieces that traverse the great divide of psychedelia, traditional rock and avant-garde sonic experimentation. It’s a record that lives up to its creators’ boast about never making the same album twice. Indeed it’s difficult to envisage a time where Cult of Dom Keller have repeated the same chord sequence never mind used it to inform a whole record. So as we’ve come to expect from the quartet, They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O. is the exact polar opposite of its predecessor Ascend! Whereas that record bathed itself in heavy instrumental passages, this veers off down several cataclysmic alleyways. The light always returning before the tunnel end is reached.
So from the moment glorious opener “Run From The Gullskinna” launches They Carried The Dead… into the stratosphere there is no comedown until “Last King Of Hell” brings the album to a tumultuous finale. In between, “She’s Turning Into A Serpent” provides a soothing antidote before the tenacious howl of “Infernal Heads” finds Cult of Dom Keller embracing their sonic palettes until full to the brim.
What makes They Carried The Dead… even more special is that each member of the band recorded and then produced their parts separately, the ensuing pandemic causing them to abandon the traditional jamming session in the rehearsal room. Forced to make the best of a bad situation, Cult of Dom Keller have done just that while turning in arguably their finest body of work to date. (www.thecultofdomkeller.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 8/10
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