Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Cult Leader - 'Lightless Walk' (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/10/2015
Label: Deathwish Inc



Cult Leader have created a monster here, a perfect combination of brains and brutality. There’s enough going on to suggest that “Lightless Walk” is just the start of an intriguing journey to the outer limits of heavy music.

‘Lightless Walk’ CD//DD//LP track listing:
01. Great I Am
02. The Sorrower
03. Sympathetic
04. Suffer Louder
05. Broken Blades
06. A Good Life
07. Walking Wastelands
08. Gutter Gods
09. Hate Offering
10. How Deep It Runs
11. Lightless Walk
Cult Leader is:
Michael Mason | Guitar
Casey Hansen | Drums
Anthony Lucero | Vocals
Sam Richards | Bass
The Review:
Once the cavernous thud and gut churning chords heralding the arrival of opener “Great I Am” have drawn your attention, there’s no escaping the dark gravity of Cult Leader’s sonic barrage. ”Lightless Walk” is the debut full length from this Salt Lake City quartet who count three former members of the fearsome Gaza in their ranks. The naked aggression of their past work remains intact here but the band is now pushing their art further into uncharted territory with spellbinding results. Once this beast has been let loose into the world, interest in previous band associations will soon crumble to dust.
Cult Leader combine furious grind, crusty hardcore, punk grit and the widescreen atmospherics of black metal to devastating effect. The majority of the tracks here are a dizzying breakneck assault on the senses, sounding like a psychedelic Trap Them or Converge set in concrete and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Tracks like “Walking Wasteland” and “Sympathetic” manage to cover more musical ground during their brief duration than most bands do in an album at no detriment to cohesion. The finale of the latter particularly showcases the powerhouse drumming of Casey Hansen, a key factor in the success of this record. While the guitar and bass lock into a punishing one chord groove, the drums become the lead instrument, weaving around the riff and slipping in and out of the beat in sublime fashion. They provide furious velocity when needed throughout the album but demonstrate exquisite control when the tempo drops.
“A Good Life” and “How Deep It Runs” show that Cult Leader can slow things down and apply restraint with no impact on quality or intensity. Both tracks have a hint of the spaced-out post metal of Cult of Luna and provide real depth to this album.
“Lightless Walk” concludes with the monumental title track. Whilst this is the quietest track here in terms of volume it is definitely the heaviest in terms of emotional damage. The band craft a bleak funeral march worthy of the titular final voyage into the beyond, with Anthony Lucero’s low half-sung, half spoken vocals providing the haunting details. Lucero’s ferocious harsh vocals are the perfect accompaniment to brutal chaos, but when he employs his clean baritone here and on “A Good Life” it leads to something unique. As the vocals fade away, the music becomes slower and sparser, evoking an air of weary resignation reminiscent of slowcore heroes Codeine. 
Cult Leader have created a monster here, a perfect combination of brains and brutality. There’s enough going on to suggest that “Lightless Walk” is just the start of an intriguing journey to the outer limits of heavy music.
‘Lightless Walk’ is available here

FFO: Converge, Gaza, Swans, Trap Them

Band info: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

1 comment:

Bernie'sblog said...

This is truly an intense record...Just one word applies here: INTENSE !! But lovely nonetheless