Formed in 2017, Rhode Island trio Cyttorak rip creatures and characters from their favorite comic books and video games to populate the ugly extremity of their soundscapes. With merch that boasts a tagline of “Gygaxian Slowerviolence,” the band offers hails and horns to Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax. Meanwhile, their music explores the murky depths of sludge, Bolt Thrower crust, hardcore and cosmic doom to procure the deadliest riff species. As an additional homage to Gygax, the cassette of their upcoming EP Simultaneous Invocation Of Apocalyptic Harbingers will also be accompanied by a d20 and D&D-styled creature power charts. But just like a game of D&D is often only as good as the Dungeon Master, a band’s brilliant merch designs rely on awesome music for meaning. Cyttorak’s new EP feels like a galactic battleground where titans leave each other’s hulking corpse to rot among dying stars. The only winner is the listener.
“Planets Between His Teeth” was released as the album’s first single, and the grimy grooves are a suitable introduction to Cyttorak’s mean streak. The main thrust of “Royal Shokan Dismemberment” might be cosmic sludge, but it’s anchored by death/doom gutturals. Cyttorak’s wealth of disparate influences morph song to song, but they still manage to retain the same DNA. While Cyttorak texture songs with bone-dry rasps and spacey guitar embellishments, the band’s ground ‘n’ pound attack never relents. Their song titles may not be into the whole brevity thing, but they’d sure as hell pass for the verbose names given to Blood Incantation’s guitar solos. Cyttorak’s music is dense without being oppressive; playful with its influences without feeling novel. The balance of nastiness and loud ‘n’ proud nerdery had me hooked until the final scream of feedback died.
Listen to Cyttorak’s Simultaneous Invocation Of Apocalyptic Harbingers exclusively below before it’s released from Tor Johnson Records on May 1st. Also scroll further and read a brief interview with Cyttorak about space noises and corrupting Disney shows. But first, press play and get dragged to fiery depths and distant worlds.
Decibel Magazine interview with Cyttorak
You recently added a third member to the band. How did you recruit guitarist Eric Saylor?
Rich (bass/vocals): (Eric) Saylor and my partner actually work for the same company, so I first met him when he was out here on business [he was working out of their California office at the time]. For a couple years he was the guy who liked good bands that she worked with that I would get to hang out with a couple times a year. He really liked Providence and wanted to move here. This whole time I would keep being reminded that he was in Landmine Marathon which was a little crazy to me because in my mind they were a pretty huge band. He finally made the move here, and even then it was just this guy I liked hanging out with who was now living here instead of me just seeing him very sporadically. I didn’t ask him about playing music initially even though long before he moved here I would daydream out loud that he should move here and start a band with me. We were at a point that our previous secondary bassist Evan was going to move on, so I finally said what the hell and asked Eric if he’d be interested. He was and it’s been a real upgrade in the sound of the band.
What changes did you want to make to Cyttorak’s sound after releasing your Underdark Invasion from Beyond the Shadow of the Warp EP last year? It feels like adding a guitarist really opened up the stylistic possibilities.
Rich: Yeah, adding him to the band really allowed us a whole new world of options. I think a lot of bands can do a lot with just two members, Et Mors from DC is just one that comes to mind, but for us it was restricting. I really enjoyed a lot of the trippy/spacey elements that Evan brought to the band and to the last tape, but especially when I listen to it lately it comes off a little flat. Eric also has a completely different approach to parts that don’t call for heavy riffs. Where before there was what we always called “outer space noises” now it is more of a Jesus Lizard-esque dissonant vibe, which I really dig and think sets us apart even more from other bands that play low and slow.
You recently premiered the song “Planets Between His Teeth” which is about the Marvel Comics world-eater Galactus. Any other comic or cosmic horror references hidden in this EP?
Rich: Oh, we have nothing BUT comic and cosmic horror! My previous band Ratstab focused a lot on Lovecraftian lore, but with Cyttorak I find it interesting to take things like video games and tabletop RPGs and write lyrics that make them seem much darker subject matter to the uninitiated. On the new EP we’re tackling everything from Goro from Mortal Kombat to the Tarrasque from Dungeons & Dragons. We even have a newer song about the old Disney adventure cartoon Pirates of Dark Water which is probably the biggest case of us taking something pretty innocent and presenting it in a way that comes off as very dark and foreboding.
I know the current quarantine has obliterated a lot of plans for the summer, but what does Cyttorak have planned for the remainder of 2020 and beyond?
Paul (drums): Yeah, everything is tough right now. We had a bunch of New England area shows that got cancelled & it’s hard to figure out re-scheduling since everything is so up-in-the-air. We have a couple solid plans. We’re doing a split with Boston’s Stagnator. They also recorded with Will at Dead Air and it sounds huge! We’re looking at summertime for a release of that. We will also be donating a cover song that we recorded during this same session to a digital benefit comp for local venue/bar Dusk. Dusk is one of our “home away from homes.” I personally was one of the first people to start booking there, and Rick (the owner) is a great friend. Hopefully this benefit will help them open the doors back up when all this is over. I think people will be surprised when they hear what cover we decided to do. Its a song that all 3 of us love, but is not a metal song.
In terms of shows, as of right now, we have a weekend planned in August with NJ’s Hundreds Of Au. The plan is to hit NJ, Fredrick MD, and Philly. It’s hard to finalize those plans though, since every promoter is in this perpetual paused state. Hopefully we will still be able to roll out and spread the word outside of New England.
Pre-order Simultaneous Invocation Of Apocalyptic Harbingers from Tor Johnson records HERE
You can also snag pre-orders from Cyttorak’s Bandcamp page HERE
Follow Cyttorak on Facebook for news and updates HERE