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Culted - Oblique To All Paths digi-CD

€4.90

Five years have elapsed since Culted gave us the blackened doom slugfest that was Below the Thunders of the Upper Deep. Now, re-energised and boasting an impressive creative momentum, the band return with the brilliantly executed Oblique to All Paths.

The guitar work on Oblique to All Paths is much busier than that of Below…. Here we are treated to a much more layered, orotund wall of sound resulting from a potent mix of doom sludge and some of the bleakest black metal elements ever recorded. On some songs, the tuning is so low and menacing that it would have Korn shaking feebly in a corner. Buoyed by this downtuned distortion, the stringwork is crowded with demented atonal melodies propelled by gravid pieces of sonic darkness I’d affectionately dubbed “the suicide chords”.

The tattered musical canvas of Oblique to All Paths vividly depicts haunting images of desolation and coaxes a feeling of forlornness and pure terror, and thereby duly fulfils the doom metal manifesto. As for the instrumentation, it’s still stripped down to bare basics, and with good reason – any attempt at technical playing would detract from the album’s pointed apocalyptic sludge vibe. Having once again shunned all song writing conventions, Culted’s modus operandi on Oblique to All Paths is to pen songs that imprison the listener and subject them to a protracted and terror-filled musical journey (Exhibit A: the aptly-named Brooding Hex is 19 minutes long).

Vocalist Daniel Jansson’s throwaway undulations of dejected shrieking and echoing whispers, heavily vocoded and abrasive, serve to further darken the album’s droning melancholy soundscapes. To be frank, Jansson’s visceral vocal work has always scared the shit out of me; it’s piercing, guttural, and it embodies an authentic blackened doom vibe to boot.

Overall, this is another excellent effort from Culted. Best enjoyed as a backdrop to your world domination planning sessions on a cold and stormy night, as you sip on a bottle of red whilst patting your evil black cat.