Two of King Dude’s session musicians, Tosten Larson and Shawn Fleming, have joined forces to form The Dark Red Seed, an exploration of gothic acoustic folk music. Their three-song EP ‘Stands with Death’ is reminiscent of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ ‘The Boatman’s Call’, with Larson’s monotonous, yet brooding vocal delivery sitting between the range of Cave himself and Johnny Cash.

The unmistakable twang of a Gretsch guitar rings out an opening chord for ‘The Antagonist’ and keeps a slow, steady pace, not dissimilar to old school blues, before building and layering feedback as Larson repeatedly delivers the line “you’re not the chosen one”. It conjures images of heat scorched desert planes and cheap bourbon and is irresistibly charming while remaining bleak and mournful. ‘The Master and The Slave’ ramps up the pace and the sex appeal. The vocals are lower in the mix, but laden with reverb, adding a cultish chanting quality to the song. The guitars and percussion do most of the heavy lifting, and give off a vibe that’s not unlike ‘The Downward Spiral’ era of Nine Inch Nails.

Slowing it back down again, ‘The Tragedy of Alesund’ possesses all the sparsity of classic Earth riffs and yet more gothic tinged countrified blues. Tosten’s voice isn’t so much singing the lyrics on this song as he is narrating a story, which works well with the glacial pace of the instrumentals. A truly impressive feat. If this is what the duo are able to produce for a first EP, then the end result of the forthcoming debut album ‘Becomes Awake’ is certainly something to look forward to.

(9/10 Angela Davey)