Underground Sounds: A Cunning Man – To Heal A Broken Body

Label: Self-released
Band: A Cunning Man
Origin: Scotland

This duo of metallers hails from Scotland, where they formed the project A Cunning Man. This is their second EP after the futuristic looking debut. It shows a hint of fantasy-themes in the nifty artwork and all-over atmosphere of the work, titled ‘To Heal A Broken Body’.

Ged Cartwright and Theo Le Derf bring some very different perspectives together in their music, which sounds unique and different from the very start onwards. Thanks to the particular musical expression, they stand out and will definitely not appeal to any listening ear in a positive manner. Something the duo is probably well aware of.

What stands out instantly is the build-up of the songs, which is almost cinematic in its singular grandeur and focussed approach. The music really seems a bit cut and pasty at times, all to provide a frame for the vocals of Cartwright on ‘ Lemegeton & The Leaden Saviour’. The vocal style is more or less proggy with a clear pronunciation of the words that I can only really compare to early Marillion.

Every track refers to ancient books of esoteric wisdom and magic, and so does the second title ‘Picatrix & The Calcine Alchemist’. Noteworthy are the audio samples, where we hear a lady speak words in a thick Scottish accent. The songs have a grand build-up and remarkable charm to them. Even though some of the music feels a bit to contrived, it works in the end in an intense and overwhelming manner. We close off with the sweeping, majestic ‘Abramelin & The Silver Hand’, which sticks to lyrics that play with the title themes, but builds it into something harder to grasp, difficult to really comprehend and grab.

I have to say I really enjoyed this record, regardless of its strange sound and nature. The delivery is powerful and genuine, and the songs are well composed and layered. A pretty odd, but surprising listen.