With a sturdy stance against most things living, DEATHCULT come roaring into the Black Metal scene with their debut album, “Cult Of The Dragon.” Despite the current trend with Black Metal either evolving into melodic, commercialized, or avant-garde Black Metal bands, DEATHCULT stand firm in their sound that is more likened towards older CELTIC FROST than the recent waves.
“Cult Of The Dragon” is pure Black Metal from the forests of Norway without any kind of hindrance in its performance. The music is raw and dark, without losing some of the production value that many bands sacrifice for that raw sound. It still incorporates some atmosphere into the material, as most Black Metal does, but the atmosphere is more of a side effect of the material rather than a focus. DEATHCULT incorporate a variety of techniques to keep the music moving forward rather than in circles.
The guitars use a guitar tone that is dark and ragged rather than heavy, which help compliment the rest of the album. Vocals that range from whispers to echoed screams help create a successful and dark atmosphere for the entire album. Although sometimes the echo effect on the vocals does seem a little overused, most of the vocals are on target. The band isn’t afraid to change tempos either to help solidify the album. There are some songs with roller coaster flow that keep the listener intent on the music. The Thrashier moments on the album blend well with the Doom sections to create a massive build throughout the entire album. Surprisingly, there are no dragging moments on the album where the songs blend together or the listener becomes bored.
A few complaints do register with “Cult Of The Dragon”, although they are nitpicky and rather sparse. The band has some great technicality of riffs and leads but the solos are a little lackluster (expect for the brief but very awesome solo in “Future Denied”). Also the vocalist has a tendency to grunt and snarl a little too much and at some awkward moments. Neither of these things actually hinder the power of this album, but they were prominent enough for me to take note of them.
“Cult Of The Dragon” is a stunning first release for DEATHCULT. The album is a rock solid piece of old school Black Metal that many fans are going to enjoy. No gimmicks and no dilution, DEATHCULT is raw anger and pure Black Metal straight through.
Songs to check out: “Cruel Celestial Spirits”, “Future Denied”, “Desolate And Lucifer”.
(Online September 15, 2007)