It seems so long ago since Ged Cartwright reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in listening to Cunning Man. Now a two-man metal project featuring the guitar talents of Theo Le Derf, Cunning Man is back with a new EP called To Heal A Broken Body and let me tell you, it is fantastic!
The Cunning Man sound incorporates many different elements. They cite jazz, post-rock, melodic metal as influences on their sound and I love how Cartwright doesn’t hide behind his thick Scottish accent, instead choosing to use it to add another element to the overall package.
There is a great theatrical side to Cunning Man. I love metal that takes me in a different direction and doesn’t always follow the rules, these guys certainly excel in creating thoughtful, original, interesting and vast soundscapes. The sound of this EP feels even more epic and huge than the first, no doubt due to the inclusion of Derf early in 2017. Whilst the previous EP showed great promise, it’s really this release that shows what this act is truly capable of doing. The melodies are still forefront and the songs are awash with ideas and emotions. Often the songs come at you from different angles and feature spoken word intervals. This brings a sort of musical element to proceedings. One moment, songs appear reflective and then suddenly you become caught up in a rip of tuneful metal, intricate guitar playing and soaring melodies.
In summary, To Heal A Broken Body is a passionate collection of songs that despite a cocktail of influences and sounds still manages to sound engaging and coherent. The Cunning Man sound is dynamic, sweeping, grand and rich and I found this EP hugely rewarding as a listener. From the opening charge of Lemegeton & The Leaden Saviour to the melodic beauty of Abramelin & The Silver Hand, this is the sort of music that excites me as a metal fan. With the metal genre seemingly in a slight state of stagnation, thanks to numerous chugging metalcore bands and the fact that many of the bigger headline acts times are coming to an end, Cunning Man is a breath of fresh air. Spread the word and Join them as they continue their quest.
A Cunning Man began life as a one-man metal project created by composer and vocalist Ged Cartwright. Guitarist Theo Le Derf joined the project in early 2017 and brought with him a unique style and contrasting influences.
Whilst the songwriting remains firmly rooted in Extreme and Melodic Metal, elements such as Modern Classical, Post-Rock and Jazz differentiate the sound from others within the genre.
This is also true of the distinctively Scottish approach to the lyrics, instrumentation and storytelling. The duos ultimate ambition is to immerse the listener in the concept of ‘A Cunning Man’.
To Heal a Broken Body is A Cunning Man’s second EP and was entirely self-funded, recorded and produced. The EP was released independently on 23/02/2018 via Bandcamp.
Further digital distribution and streaming was available on 27/02/2018.
A Cunning Man – To Heal a Broken Body
1. Lemegeton & The Leaden Saviour (5:42) 2. Picatrix & The Calcine Alchemist (4:16) 3. Abramelin & The Silver Hand (4:26)
All songs written by and © of A Cunning Man 2018
Ged Cartwright – Vocals, composition, instrumentation and programming Theo Le Derf – Guitars, additional composition
Gemma McCabe – Additional vocals and spoken word
Meghan Bradford – Alto and soprano saxophone
Recorded, produced and mixed by Ged Cartwright Mastered by Jamie King at The Basement Recording NC
Cover art by Gordon Crawford
A Cunning Man logo by Luciferium War Graphics Photography and promotional material by Stuart Campbell