Chovu – What Sorcery Is This? EP

Chovu – What Sorcery Is This? EP
Obsydian Media
Release Date: 10/12/22
Running Time: 16:53
Review by Laura Barnes

Ahhh, January. A truly underrated month. Routines are settled back into, pints are miraculously cheaper, and most importantly, there is significantly less pressure to go out and socialise. What can I say? I’m a big fan of normality, and the end of the Yuletide festivities gives me some much-needed time to catch up on all of last month’s music that I missed, for example Chovu’s first EP, “What Sorcery Is This?”

Chovu were the first band in residence to record an EP at Obsydian Media and A4’s Kivulini Studios in Ngong, Kenya. A big responsibility, but one that Chovu have pulled off with style. Inspired by Kenyan folklore and African mysticism, Chovu have forged themselves a unique and eclectic sound that draws from all the shades of the extreme metal spectrum, with a slight tilt towards Black Metal and Doom Metal. The raw production style of “What Sorcery Is This?” gives the EP a distinct underground feel – this is the sound of five people making the sort of music that they want to hear, the sound of pure self-expression. Needless to say: I had a fucking blast. 

After a drum and vocals focused intro that really paints a vivid scene, Chovu kick off the EP in earnest with ‘Into Dust’. The slow, funeral march-like guitars and bass give the track a doom-and-dread laden feel and the snare provides the song with its ever-shifting heartbeat, but it’s the vocals that really grab my attention. There’s a raspy cadence to Lord Rot’s vocals which really tap into the despair at the heart of the song. It is also common for bands at this stage in their life to focus so much on the harshness of the vocals that the lyrics get lost along the way, but Chovu manage to avoid this completely; the story of the song is just as important as its presentation. This is especially clear on ‘Mwikali’, which is built around spoken word elements and Alice In Chains style riffage. After this, it’s onto ‘Vermillion Diner’, slow, scorching track with a killer snare and a combination of harsh and clean vocals that gives the song a strong sense of push and pull. The version of the album that I was sent also included a bonus track entitled ‘Empire Of Graves’ from “Uchawi”, a split album that Chovu have released with The Witch. I’m might glad this song was included as a bonus, because I fucking love it. The vocals reach a new level of demonic, and when I say demonic, I’m talking old school devils with tall horns and sharp teeth. And the drums! The unholy crash of the cymbals! Beautifully messy and magnificent, ‘Empire Of Graves’ was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, and believe me, I’ve heard some crazy shit during my time working at a music venue.

With “What Sorcery Is This?” Chovu have proven that the extreme metal underground is alive and kicking. This is a daring first EP, and I enjoyed it immensely. I can’t wait to see what they do next!


01. Into Dust
02. Kithitu Walk
03. Mwikali
04. Vermillion Diner
05.  Empire of Graves

Lord Rot – Vocals
Lord Trieste – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Lord Cyberlock – Rhythm Guitar
Lord Komora – Bass
Lord Griplodocus – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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