Cults are always problematic for me, largely because what – on the surface – seems a calling to “abandon false religions” and “leave society behind” almost invariably becomes religious in practice and elitist, societal, “hive mind” in psyche by the time the Kool-Aid starts getting passed around. Especially within the realms of our beloved “extreme” music, the term “cult” gets thrown around with the same abandon my generation used to declare things “radical”, “bitchin’”, or “hella”. But I’ll leave this for another day.
CULTED has been at it a little over a decade now, and is one of the ever more common outfits with members scattered willy-nilly, “willy-nilly” in this case being Winnipeg, Manitoba and Gothenburg, Sweden. Now, Gothenburg we all know, or should, but Winnipeg may not be as familiar to most. As one at least moderately familiar with the Prairies and their landscape, let me assure you, they’re vast, sparsely populated, and, in Winter, unforgiving.
CULTED’s third stomps ‘n’ swaggers its way into your consciousness, the band’s blackened doom infused with as much of the industrial/metal hybrid as always, but there’s a warmth here, of tone. Mind, not a warmth of the comforting sort, the swaddled safety of contentment, but a physicality, a touchable, tangible soundscape so often missing from industrial-influenced acts. ‘Lifers’ wanders a bit in the first 1/3rd, but more in an anticipatory sense than one of loss, soon enough grooving ala the oft’ overlooked SKREW, who could be this quartet’s more death metal-oriented forefathers.
“Ambient” is a descriptor often taken to mean the calming, soothing, the tuneful and non-intrusive, but ‘Black Bird’ turns the term inside out, threateningly circling as its namesake over the carrion plains, and this is where CULTED succeeds over the course of Nous. ‘Crown Of Lies’ builds, growing in stature, taking form, and though rarely the band seems to sacrifice the song at the altar of the sonic palette, they excel so at the latter that one often forgets about the former.
Ending with an appropriate cover of GODFLESH’s ‘Crush My Soul’, CULTED has done, with Nous, what every artist worth the title desires and strives for, revealing itself through the work. Faceless, a vessel through which creativity flows, the muses speak.
Review By: Lord Randall
Season Of Mist – Underground Activists
4 / 6