Review: Cruentus “Fossilized” [Kvlt und Kaos Productions]

Review: Cruentus “Fossilized” [Kvlt und Kaos Productions]

- in Reviews
Score 95%
95 %
User Rating : 4.7 (4 votes)

Blackened thrash is overall a pretty simple style in execution- it’s practically where black metal as a whole got its start, with the extreme take that Celtic Frost and Bathory had on speed and thrash metal, and many bands today of course take clear inspiration from them today. Normally you may expect it to be sleazy, primitive and sinful sounding, but I still find myself finding new bands under that banner that still impress me, whether it’s from outright ferocity of execution, or because it actually does something original that I don’t hear all that often. Not to mention that I find that some of the catchiest riffs come from black/thrash styled bands. Some of my favorite black metal bands overall incorporate a strong thrash influence honestly. It’s something that I admit can be samey a lot of times, but at the same time it’s something I see a lot of potential in. The particular band I’ll be discussing today is a blackened thrash band from Sweden called Cruentus, who could be considered veterans- being around for as long as I’ve been alive, 1998, but only having released 2 full-length albums in the span of 24 years. The album we’re talking about is Fossilized, released off of Kvlt and Kaos productions.

The first thing that kind of surprised me, after going in blind after just looking up the band on metal archives and seeing them being described as black/thrash, was being greeted by riffs that sounded like they could’ve been ripped out of a dismember track- partially because of the distortion, I’m not sure if they use HM-2’s or not, it does have a very dirty sound to it, but it also sounds very dark and morbid, while also having that broody melodic edge to it. The black metal side of the sound becomes much more evident later in the first track after the intro, but it definitely has a strong Swedish death metal influence mixed with black metal and thrash influence, and it has pretty killer hooks. So from the get go it really seems to set itself apart, while also really seeming to take a lot of pride in being a part of the same scene that the likes of Entombed, Grave and Dismember came from. The vocals are much more obviously black metal as well, they have a raspier sound, while also sounding particularly insidious in my opinion- I’d imagine the voice of a reanimated mummy probably sounding like the vocalist of this band. The drums are pretty blasty of course, with drum fills just in the right places, and they overall are pretty solid. The next track, “Nihil Ultra” seems to shove the speed/thrash influences to the forefront, just again with that super dirty sounding Swedish death metal guitar tone, but then they show off some very brooding, dark and somber melodies, and it has a wonderful sense of progression throughout the song. It’s definitely one of those songs, much like some of the songs by entombed, that may sound simpler on the surface, but is actually surprisingly complex.

So as you can tell, this really isn’t your typical blackened thrash, I’d almost go as far as to say that it’s kind of just Old School Swedish death metal, but with blackened thrash metal influence. You could almost say that it’s like a mixture of old school Dismember and Destroyer 666 almost, even just by listening to the intro and the first three tracks. It also has one of those rare songs on the album that has a chorus that’s so catchy that I could see myself having it stuck in my head for days on end, until I finally give in to the compulsion to replay it over and over again, with the song Mot Alltets Sots, the fourth track- which easily makes it my favorite song on the album. But I think what I probably like the most about this album is not only the interesting combination of the old school Swedish sound with black and thrash metal, but also just how dark it sounds. To me that’s one reason why labels don’t necessarily do music any justice at the end of the day- Initially coming into this experience I expected something maybe a bit more Bathory, Abigail, Sabbat or Midnight-esque, just a session of pure sleazy, old school black/thrash debauchery, but instead it kind of just blew my expectations out of the water- so it’s one of those albums that kind of remind you that metal, music, or creativity in general is something that can’t simply be confined to labels. You can certainly come to a more simplified description by just slapping a black/thrash/maybe death metal description on it, but it won’t entirely reflect what the listening experience of it will be. At least in my opinion anyway, it might sound kind of pretentious, but that’s the way I kind of see it at the end of the day. But either way, I think that the music on this album is definitely something that’s fairly unique. Each song really kind of stands out in its own right overall, with a similar overarching atmosphere overall, with its own unique identity. While it is very gritty sounding, it also has a strong sense of introspection somehow, even just musically, like in the aforementioned Mot Alltets Sots, with its slower paced, dread-soaked opening, and about a minute into “Averted Reality”, when there is just these dissonant chords playing, and some slower, heavier riffs that appear- almost thoughtful to me. Honestly I would love to read the lyrics for myself just because I feel like they would be rather thought-provoking and existential. Even the bass from what I’ve noticed adds this very sobering and grim presence with the weight it adds.

To include a few of the highlights of the album for me, other than the ones I’ve already mentioned, I’d have to say that “Doldrums” is up there- it probably has my favorite drumming surprisingly in the album (no pun intended)- but also that one has some very melancholic sounding melodies in it. The final track, “Primordial Reprisal”, which to me just takes you on this journey towards the end of the cycle of life, with a sense of almost grief or dread in the beginning, like when you say, first realize that your death is approaching, then it becomes much more frantic, as if you are realizing what you have missed out on throughout your experience of life and begin to regret what you have and have not done, then a sense of acceptance- like you realize that it is happening, and there’s nothing you can do to change it, then towards the end when it becomes more chaotic I just imagine that as being you allowing yourself to spiral into the realm of death. That’s just my whole idiosyncratic view of the song anyway- but maybe if you were to listen to the song you might at least understand how I get those impressions. But aside from that, I would say that “The Lost Ones” has to be one of the other highlights for me. That one definitely has to be up there for me, that’s another one that has, again, one hell of an atmosphere, but it also has some pretty kick ass hooks.
So I would say that it’s no secret that I like this album to be quite frank. I would go as far as to put it at around a 9/10… maybe as much as a 9.5/10 I’d go as far as to say. But I would say that if you like stuff like Dismember, Entombed, Grave, Destroyer 666, maybe even Melechesh or something like that, you might enjoy this album. You can find a physical copy of this on Kvlt and Kaos productions, if you’re willing to pay a hefty shipping price if you live in the states like me (believe me, I would totally pick up this album on CD if the price wasn’t worth me second-guessing myself), but you can also get a physical copy of their first album on their Bandcamp– aside from that you can check them out digitally on Spotify, YouTube, probably iTunes I’d imagine. But until next time, I hope you’re having a great day, and that you treat yourself well, because you deserve it, cheers!

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About the author

I’ve been into metal ever since high school. So naturally a passion for writing and metal probably would’ve lead me here at some point! I’ve always loved spreading the good word of under-the-radar bands that would probably make jesus, or at least your grandma cry (which, apparently I’ve done, not even trying to be edgy, that’s literally what she’s told me, I’m sorry grandma!).

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