Genre: Black Metal
Label: Soulseller Records
Among the handful of bands with the same name, the Norwegian Deathcult might not ring a bell right away, as they are not a popular band out there. However, it consists of the brothers Skagg and Thurzur, who accompanied Gaahl in his old project Gaahlskagg and the “Erotic Funeral” album in 2000. What is more, no other than Hoest plays the bass, who has also used the other two for live shows with Taake, making their union tight and close, very much into Norwegian black metal.
The new record “Cult of the Goat” comes exactly a decade after the previous one. It is also forged in the same pattern, in terms of title and artwork, as their debut “Cult of the Dragon” featured a dragon sigil and a minimal, symbolic artwork, as we can see here, but this time revolving around the goat. In a sense, we are talking about a very straightforward album to begin with. A couple of rehearsals were released in 2014-2015, which contained tracks that were meant to be featured in the band’s second album, apart from a couple of new compositions. Despite being a track less than “Cult of the Dragon”, we are now granted with a longer duration of almost fifty minutes.
The first few seconds of the opener “Climax of the Unclean” feature the two simplest notes any man in the world would play with an electric guitar for the first time, but hopefully, it soon gets into more interesting lines. Naturally, it evolves as exactly what you would expect from these musicians, and it bares similarities to the projects they are involved, as well as the genre itself. The primitive, hammering riffs remind of a crossover of Gorgoroth / Taake / Darkthrone, many of them move over simplistic repetition, but there is enough variety and sample effects to keep the record going. I like how it doesn’t go into frenzy speeds, instead it offers middle paced grooves straight from the Norwegian mountains, along with only a few faster parts (as in “Ascension Rite”).
Even though most part of “Cult of the Goat” has easy to follow melodies, I didn’t find myself remembering specific tracks or moments after several listens. There are no invariances in the album and you can get an idea about it with only listening to a couple of tracks, any of them in fact. Such an issue might be a drawback of the release, as in the middle of it I felt that I had listened to everything it had to offer. Some tracks are more well written than others, for example the introduction track or the longest “Devilgoat”, and “Man Versus Beast”, include the most enjoyable riffs in the record. Still, moments in “The Oath” reached lower levels of interest. I can say I was caught a bit off guard with the outro, which is a mellow instrumental you would listen to horror animated movies, or parts in Carach Angren material. Or I missed the point. It felt great anyway.
The freaks of Norwegian black metal will enjoy this a lot and I can’t say I disliked it either. I wouldn’t place “Cult of the Goat” equal to other material by their blood brother bands and compared to them, this record contains lower quality material, which is not unlistenable by any way. I will try to keep one track from here or two, but it wouldn’t be the first record I would suggest to someone who looks for something new to listen to in the genre. Regardless, I like a band like Deathcult I’m glad they are out there and active.