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Cultic : High Command

Fans of Winter and Hellhammer should love this murky old-school Death/Doom debut by US band Cultic.

'High Command' is the full-length debut of American Death/Doom band Cultic. I had heard nothing of this band prior to receiving the download to review so I really didn't have any idea of what to expect.

When my ears were greeted with some very raw, old-style Death/Doom, I have to say that it made me smile. For me, the 90's were great to live through from a musical perspective, and the intention of Cultic on 'High Command' was clearly to respectfully nod toward the likes of diSEMBOWELMENT, which suits me just fine. You know precisely what you're going to get on a release like this; raw, muddy, and brutal. It's the kind of band I love to see live at a local venue.

If you like your Death/Doom a lot more polished and atmospheric, then cross 'High Command' off your list of things to listen to immediately. There's nothing for you on this album. The music Cultic have produced here will only appeal to old Death/Doom fans that like their music sounding as if it were recorded in a friend's garage. The production is absolutely shocking, just for the sake of transparency, but it's in this style of music where it actually helps to be that way. There's the occasional drift toward Sludge too, which I'm a fan of, but nothing more than that.

The harsh vocals sound good but again, the production limits just how much of them you can actually hear. There's the odd touch of Esoteric's zany, zoned-out approach as musical interludes on certain tracks, which I enjoyed. The only real downside to this release is that it could get repetitive to some of you because the riffs are quite simplistic and straightforward. That wasn't the case for me but I'm sure it will be for some so it's something to keep in mind.

I honestly don't know what else there is to say about 'High Command' that I haven't already said. It's a fairly short album, which is a pity, but everything else is as you'd expect i.e. minimalistic, atrocious production, heavy-as-iron girders Death/Doom that you'd think was recorded thirty years prior to when it actually was. I'd prefer a touch more variation between slower parts and up-tempo parts but it's still very enjoyable. If you like this kind of thing like I do, it's definitely one to pick up and a band to keep an eye on. If you prefer more modern Death/Doom then I'd steer well clear.

Bluntly put, 'High Command' is fucking beautiful, filthy Death/Doom, so much so that I'm lamenting not having this on cassette to put in a Walkman.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Conqueror
2. Cruel Orders
3. False Idols
4. The Prowler
5. Forest Of Knives
6. Dark Rider
7. Enchained

Duration : Approx. 34 minutes

Visit the Cultic bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-09-02 by Ian Morrissey
Aesthetic Death
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