A band is like a family. They work together as a unit. They know all of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They are the foundational social body that makes the workings of larger institutions possible. And when they come together, in trust and harmony, they can accomplish remarkable things. Also, like a family, sometimes a band’s members are best off living in different cities (different countries even!). Now, while I have you all nodding in agreement, allow me to segue into an introduction of our Bandcamp of the Day, Culted’s Nous.
Culted’s members are spread across various parts of Canada and Sweden. According to their own, self-perpetuated mythology, they have never actually all met in person. Each member instead writes and records their parts at home (with the exception of drummer Kevin Stevenson) and then swaps their contributions with each other, in what must feel at times, like a microcosm of the tape trading rings of old. This method of working would seem ideal for making a record under current conditions, and indeed, the isolation of the pandemic has borne for us, a tartly flavored fruit of malice.
Allowing the trauma and pressure of the present plague epoch to act as a tortured guide, Culted have produced their first full-length LP in seven years. Nous is also the band’s first album for Season of Mist, following their departure from Relapse Records after the release of 2014’s Oblique to All Paths. Despite the band stating to the press (ie us) that they had geared their sound for this record towards a more recognizably commercial “rock” orientation, their stew of blackened doom ambiance remains as unconsolatory as ever.
“Lowest Class” churns with the patience of the equinox, with each labored chord rising and falling like a briny crest of surf crashing against a rock face, captured by the unfiltered gaze of a dead sailor’s eye, whose ship had fatefully splintered against the unforgiving facade of surrounding cliffs, like so much discarded flotsam in the ocean’s froth. While a flesh creasing guitar distortion is a key element of the Culted’s sound, they manage to make their punishing peddle enhancements work even while anchoring the track with an acoustic guitar, such as on the furious kettle of angst “Black Bird.” Later, a few bars of Synth-noir entices you into the tarry and empathy emptied shoal of “Crown of Lies.” Nous‘s penultimate track, “The Grid” will press you between the gravel of a blood-soaked, killing field and the treds of a monumental, sanguine seeking lap of iron-smelted chords, singed by the bursting, magma-bubbles of the burning percussion, before finally concluding with a punishing rendition of Godflesh’s “Crush My Soul.”
You can stream of Culted’s Nous via Bandcamp below:
Get a copy of Nous on CD and vinyl from Season of Mist here.