Temple of the Dead Moth is the title under which Edinburgh artist Andrew John Cairns began releasing music in 2012. Originally making his presence felt through his Turmoil EP, the Scottish singer/songwriter made his return in February with its full length follow-up, Cauterize. The record, which features thirteen tracks, is appropriately described by the man himself as “grungey alt-country”.
It begins with the ominous bass intro of “The Years Have Not Been Kind”, which leads into resonant vocals whose tone is quite chilling. The merging of a foreboding ambience with a strong country sound makes for an intriguing opener that has a very dark edge. “Cold Bodies” maintains its disconcerting atmosphere via an enthusiastic acoustic riff and a maniacal melody about which there is something inexplicably exciting.
“Until We Die” arrives next upon loud and lively instrumentation that struts through more spirited but menacing vocals. Its busy bass line and feisty guitars ensure a rhythm that stays rousing from start to finish. This is ahead of a steady riff that burns behind a rough and raw harmony during “Your Bed, Full of Flies”, emitting a similarly sinister air.
“Whiskey, Satellites and Ditches” takes over from here with relatively reserved guitars which preface hushed but haunting vocals. It goes on to adopt a determined demeanour for a crazy chorus that becomes more stirring with each repetition. “This Morning Will Eat Us Alive” follows as frantic instrumentation sprints furiously forward alongside a fiery melody. The result is a hectic effort that bears an avid attitude.
“Food for Insects” is an unperturbed undertaking which has a rather disaffected disposition, while “Another Day” exhibits a sluggish but imposing beat that really gets in your face. “You and I” takes a playful approach afterwards with light and airy guitars that unfold aside grating vocals which penetrate deep. “A Consequence of Pain” is a sobering piece in its wake, whose mellow execution is quite a departure from its predecessors before it erupts for a menacing conclusion.
“A Gun in the Desert” comes as a disturbing and disorientating composition that features some rather psychedelic instrumentation. It paves the way for “Drinking in the Sun”, which succeeds in conjuring up an image of being parched and stranded in an arid environment. “Fridays We Drink (Freitag Ist Schnapstag)” bursts out if its aftermath into chaotic guitars and a rebellious melody. It’s a straight-up old school punk belter that serves as a pleasant surprise with which to end the album.
Temple of the Dead Moth has a remarkably unique and unusual approach to making music. His material is gruff, disquieting and abrasive yet somehow strangely melodic and compelling. The surly style that’s prevalent throughout Cauterize really does defy description. To fully grasp what it entails, I can only recommend that you head over to Bandcamp to check it out for yourself.