After a couple of releases with Relapse Records the Canadian-Swedish formation Culted has joined forces with the label Season of Mist, and this February was published their full-length album “Nous”. So, this is their third album after seven years of silence (apart from EP “Vespertina Syntaxis – A Prayer for Union & Emptiness” two years ago), Culted has never been prolific, their releases are too emotionally devastating for each member of the band to squander them every year or two.
Their singer Daniel Jansson lives in Sweden, whilst the rest of the band resides in Canada (they have never even met Daniel), but nowadays it’s not a big deal, because Culted has always recorded their parts in their home studios (except the drums). This music is difficult to describe, you just need to feel it, and not on a background level, humming somewhere from the neighbor room. Evidently, the musicians contribute to their art a lot of devastating and dark emotions, the music screams in agony itself on this noisy and wildly discordant background. So, the listener can prepare himself for more than one hour of depressive and atrocious musical journey between the dirtiest places of earth and hell.
This release is very minimalistic and even drab, the slow and primitive guitar chords lead through all the compositions, sometimes giving way to a chaotic and noisy parts or calmer transitions. Structurally it is very southern sounded sludge metal with industrial loudness, black metal eeriness, drone buzzing and noise madness. The distorted voice and guitars characterize all the aura of “Nous” and psychedelic ambient elements make it even dirties and rawer. This messy fuzziness of guitars is totally overwhelming with physical and mental sensations till the abysmal hopelessness kicks in. “Nous” is not about the blending of musical genres or structural technicality of the musical skills of the band members, the whole concept focuses on the darkest inner feelings through this noisy and chaotic form of art.
The half of the songs aren’t classically performed, no choruses, refrains or static repetitions, all is covered in erratic and raw frenzy and is decorated with heavy noises. But some melodic parts from time to time emerge and smooth away this fussy uproar (“Maze”). The acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar parts also lighten up the disharmonic mood, but for a very short time (“Ankle Deep” or “The Grid”), and when the reflective ambient elements are interspersed with doom metal (“Crown of Lies”), the music becomes dreamier and more pensive. “Nous” is often heavily patched with long southern intros and muted recitals, it’s like an eternal and reckless soundtrack to a horror movie, especially when Daniel chants and murmurs frantically, creating ritualistic aura. There is a lot of sound effects to enhance the atmospheric and emotional highlights, and through the core of all the noisy passages, the psychedelic distortion is clearly audible all the same. The last song “Crush my Soul” is cover version of Godflesh, catchy, monotonous and dismal interpretation of classical song.
There’s no denial that such complicated bands as Culted aren’t oriented towards commercial success, this music is too devastating and raucous to conquer the metal charts (even the independent). But no way, the collaboration with Season of Mist will pay off, giving this band all the credits for unique musical ideas, genuine devotion and immersion into the darkest depths of this broken art.
Release date: February 26, 2021
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