A CUNNING MAN - Practical Applications Of Theurgy

A Cunning Man - Practical Applications Of Theurgy

3 songs
14:47 minutes
***** ****


A first and very unexpected highlight of this still young year 2017 is the debut EP by A Cunning Man, a solo metal project from Scotland headed by Ged Cartwright. Recorded over the course of half a year, the three songs on Practical Applications Of Theurgy is best proof that the metal genre still allows for artists to position themselves beyond all typical genres, and all of that without giving up on good songwriting.

Usually I am quite sceptical when it comes to people doing everything by themselves, as often solo efforts without the help of outside people can feel sterile in the end, but fortunately Ged Cartwright is actually a really cunning man who didnít make that mistake. The opener Honorius & The Choral Forecast starts fiercely with the energy of a black metal song, but the unusual, very high and charismatic vocals show from the start that this is something entirely different. Not even half a minute into the song, and we get a wonderfully catchy chorus. Not long after, there comes a psychedelic organ part, followed by a slightly industrial and very progressive feeling break. Most bands use the same amount of ideas on an entire album where A Cunning Man makes it through this four-minute track, which is also the shortest piece on the EP. The following five-minute long Cyprian & The Ambergris Geist starts with a mellow piano part, with the strange and haunting vocals soon joining in. At times you get time impression that Ged Cartwright grew up on intelligent black metal and has transcended over to a certain kind of progressive power metal, not unlike the later Sieges Even, although with a fortunately fiercer and more dynamic approach. This second track may not be as catchy as the opener but still comes with enough details to unravel. The closing six-minute Juratus & The Sulfur Psalm best shows the artistís Scottish heritage, especially the spoken word part by guest vocalist Gemma McCabe who sounds more Scottish than anything I have ever heard before. This track delves more into modern progressive rock / metal and even at times reminds me of ancient Big Country.

Ged Cartwright has shown that with enough determination and talent, you can still create mesmerising metal music these days. The self-released EP Practical Applications Of Theurgy is available at the artistís Bandcamp page. You can pay anything you like, but frankly he deserves some of your Euros for this incredibly intriguing EP. A first effort rarely sounds as accomplished as this!

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