Italian black metallers Kult have returned with their strongly anticipated second album Unleashed From Dismal Light and as the eight track release savages the senses with its raw and rapacious malevolence you cannot avoid feeling that it is a long overdue violation. The album does not defy expectations, the Como quartet proudly uncaging the resourceful old school black metal they build their sound upon and are known for, the release leaving the genre’s boundaries safe from rupturing into new pastures but with a causticity and vitriol which ignites the senses the album provides a healthy level of satisfaction as the band comes back into focus.
Kult was formed in 2002 by guitarist Kacele and vocalist Werewolf, and within its first year released the Total Devastation demo whilst playing shows across Italy and Switzerland. It was their 2007 released debut album Winds Of War which cast the band to a wider attention around Europe and further afield, the band backing it and their emerging stature with tours and festival appearances. It has been six years between albums but with new vocalist Tumulash replacing Werewolf who left the band earlier this year, alongside Kacele, bassist Davide White, and drummer Gionata Potenti, Kult and Unleashed From Dismal Light looks set to reignite the band’s reputation and presence within black metal.
Released via cult German label Folter Records, the album emerges from a sinister ambience as opener Specter’s Recurrence comes into view. The haunting coaxing sets a menacing atmospheric scene, church bells tolling for the impending menace and unbridled ferocity launched by guitars and rhythms, a sonic pestilence ridden by the equally rabid vocal squalls. With acidic melodic lures entwined around the battering of intensive rhythms and venomous delivery of Tumulash, it is an unsurprising but tasty savagery, the bestial bass tones and occasional eruption of addictive hooks sparking an eager appetite for the onslaught.
The intensive examination of the ears continues with Malicious Metamorphosis, the prowling entrance of the track an immediate doom clad embrace given a destructive breath by Tumulash. The bass of White again has a dark voice which grips attention from within the strong persuasion of the song, its stalking potent bait within the winding sonically sculpted melodies wrapped in coarse intensive persistence. The production on song and release is murky, which accentuates the suffocating nature of the immersive sound but also suppresses the clarity of some of the stronger invention and enterprise, leaving thoughts unsure of its success either way. Nevertheless the album continues to satisfy and spark the imagination as the predatory Exercitus Mortorum with its carnivorous intent and swaggering rabidity alongside the merciless To Flagellate Life soon prove.
Unleashed From Dismal Lights at no point sets the passions aflame but certainly has them awoken to its increasingly predacious assault. Raging Curse Upon Man is another stalking beast of a track, sinews and gait concentrated on corruption of the senses whilst rhythms tumble and roam through the ear with a vindictive nature to match the ever voracious vocals. The track exploits the essences of black metal at its original core to make a strong introduction but when turning in a temptation of dirty rock ‘n’ roll loaded with wanton addictive grooves it raises the pinnacle of the album with ease, its most adventurous and exploratory encounter.
The rampant Into Deadly Coils with its bordering on folkish swing is another major highlight of the release, the track an irrepressible almost friendly encounter with its brief but enticing instrumental presence, whilst the following Sons of Nightfall and closing track Senza Pace complete the album with an insidiously taunting yet potently alluring sprawl of blackened malevolence.
Much of the inventive depths of the songs are overwhelmed by the instinctive sonic venom and smothering production of the album it is fair to say but offers enough strength to tempt within the tempest to make Unleashed From Dismal Light a very worthy focus for the attention of old school black metal fans and those with a broader remit. Kult has not reinvented the wheel but appealingly made it roll with raw invention to again mark the band out.
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