There is a certain kind of album that comes along rarely. The kind of album that takes you on a journey from the first notes and doesn’t let you go until the end. Most of the time, the journey is a pleasant one, sometimes it is spiritual. This time however it is a claustrophobic trip into the world of nightmares.
Culted has crafted an album that is very cinematic and the pictures it offers are uneasy to look at, at best.
A world devoid of colour or warmth, the air thick with a suffocation tension. Here, there are no safe places, only crumbling ruins. The screeching voice of Daniel Jansson bellowing through the empty streets, like a vulture seeking fresh carrion. The only solid walls here are the ones built by Michael Klassen and Mathew Friesen. Monolithic walls of sound and noise, riffs cemented together with layers of hissing menace and feedback loops. Yet these walls offer no shelter, all they offer are a barrier to stop the listener in his tracks, so drummer Kevin Stevenson can bludgeon you to death. There is no escape from this grim place, no chance of relief from the unrelenting rain of despair that is cast down upon us.
Some say Culted are the bastard child of Sunn O))) and Khanate, conceived after a weird ritual in a forbidden cave, deep in the woods. Yet, this accursed offspring is something far more dangerous and devious.
Six tracks will lead us to our doom, six tracks of death, black magic and despair. We have no choice but to follow the corroded steel tracks, onward, deeper into hell. Here is neither hope nor future.
We follow the robed figure that adorns the stunning and haunting cover. Is it Charon, the ferryman of the dead? Is it Death itself? Or is it something else, something worse? A lonely crow flies up above us, the only living being to be seen for countless hours.
‘Oblique To All Paths’ bends time into an unending circle of suffering, shifting from noise filled landscapes to deformed metallic mountainsides and deep blackened caverns. All the while an icy wind blows from the crevices below, the earth’s surface cracked like a shattered bowl.
I can vaguely remember coming to this place, A track called ‘Brooding Hex’ lured me here. A gentle strummed guitar called me and persuaded me to follow it. It took me to a gate. It didn’t look like anything special or evil. Then, when I crossed through it and looked back it was cyclopean in size. Gargantuan black stone arches reached up into a red sky and I was beaten down by the heavy fog that lingered here. I knew there was no turning back. Before me I could make out a road. It looked like concrete at first, but when walking upon it I discovered it was actually made of the burnt skulls of infants. The crackling noise of every step I took would stay with me for the whole length of the trip.
I felt like Dante, travelling through the Inferno, yet I did not have Virgil to guide and protect me.
Demons and tormented ones pulled at me from all sides, draining the life out of me. Yet I strode on. I passed the circle of hell called ‘Illuminati‘, descended further down through the gate of ‘Intoxicant Immuration’, onward I went with ‘The March Of The Wolves’. I saw the circle dedicated to the ‘Distortion Of The Nature Of Mankind’ and passed through the gate called ‘Transmittal’. Then, my mind filled with horror, I looked straight into the void, the black eyes of Lucifer himself. There, devoid of spirit or emotion I found a new meaning to everything. I had gone through the darkness into a different light. A darkness so black, it illuminates those that seek it’s light.
“How didst thou come here?” Lucifer asked. I answered: “Culted have guided me down the blackest road to the center of Hell and I thank them for it!”
Scribed by: Kevin Kentie