Culted - Beyond the Thunders of the Upper Deep
Relapse Records
Blackened Doom
6 songs (42:34)
Release year: 0
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Surprise of the month
Imagine if Sunn 0))) sped up to a slow doom tempo, became more regularly riff-driven, and found an actual pulse instead of their usual abstract freeflow. Surely it would miss the point entirely? Maybe, maybe not. Culted essentially do something a bit like this, with a heavy black metal influence, but it would be somewhat unfair to tag them as drone for beginners. After all, wasn’t the last Earth also relatively accessible? It had riffs, it had a beat… In some ways, Beyond the Thunders of the Upper Deep is like the evil twin of The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull. It comes into its own when viewed as a more “conventional” blackened doom band taken to thudding, unpleasant extremes.

Opener, and probably the best track, Tyrant Cold takes Nortt-style ripples of putrid guitar water, combined with distant Xasthurish vocals, and leashes them to a lumbering doom metal creaker. For what it is, it’s remarkably accessible, coming close to a far more sinister equivalent of some of Centurions Ghost’s slower moods. Also impressive is Gunburn, where a protracted ambient horror eminently comparable to various passages of Monoliths and Dimensions, evolving into a crushingly slow stagger with a gut-spillingly deep and abrasive tone, that makes me think of Mortician. Towards the end of this unfriendly epic, we move into the kind of clattering, grinding-to-a-halt crash sections in which Khanate specialise, but it takes only a fleeting, slobbering look at that sound before shambling off in search of fresh human brains.

This is disturbing and atmospheric, populated not just by asteroid riffs but also by creepy jangly quiet periods. The despondency of the looped chord progression at the beginning of Social Control is utterly funereal, although it isn’t really taken anywhere, being ditched for a chugger. On the other hand, the thunderous Place of Skulls is a masterclass of slow burning timeless misery; it’s sci-fi sound effects adding a sense of being lost in the endless black of space to a Lovecraftian morass of funeral doom.

Not too much more to add here. I would recommend this heartily for lost souls in search of punishing, vile doom metal, as well as those into the blackened, screechy end of drone who don’t mind something with a beat from time to time. This is a standout debut, promising all sorts of fresh horrors in the future.

Killing Songs :
Tyrant Cold, Gunburn
Charles quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Culted that we have reviewed:
Culted - Oblique to All Paths reviewed by Charles and quoted 70 / 100
Culted - Of Death and Ritual reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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