I am a huge fan of this one, I have a few issues with it but overall I like it. It is filled with dread and atmosphere perfect for what the band were aiming for. With its Lovecraftian and cultic overtones this is some stellar blackgaze.
The first issue I have with this album is the choice to have four huge songs with many parts instead of having a standard structure. It’s a small issue I know, but it is annoying. I didn’t feel that this was needed and makes the whole thing a chore to listen to despite how much I like it. You have to skip through the track to get to the parts of the song you like and that’s never a good thing.
The other is far more concerning and that’s the work by vocalist Hyperborean. I don’t hate the vocals but they’re the kind of black metal that has been corrupted too much by death metal and it is jarring for me. Sometimes it really works but I feel that a mix of a higher and lower range would work a threat for this guys. The lower range of the vocals mixed with the lovely eerie low ends detract from each other.
“The Abyss Triumphant” would have been a better track than it already is if there was some kind of variation to the vocals or another vocalist changing it up. I hate to say it but the vocals are the worst thing about this album.
“Asunder!” feels like a lumbering titan smashing a city or a dark god of Lovecraft rising from the sea. The slow but powerful intro opens into an outstanding passage and it jumps back and forward filling the tune with tension.
“As the Void Beckons” is a faster one that is filled with intent. It’s a black, thrashy affair with touches of death metal riffs. The midpoint of this song has one of the best musical passages of the whole album. It then leads into a faster, more technical and thrashy idea. So many good ideas are peppered through the tracks that it is frustrating that their unwieldy nature makes it hard to cover everything.
The production isn’t too flashy and I love that. Everything sounds like it should and yet there is rawness to it. Everything is dark but clear. The guitars have a sinister tone on top of a rumbling bass that rests on the backbone of an excellent drummer. The production is a masterclass in blackgaze metal making.
Aside from the tiny problems I have with it; this album is glorious. It’s low, dirty while being filled with crunchy riffage and atmospheric melodic breaks. The bass and drums are tight throughout and provide a great surface for Hyperborean to build on with his sparse to deceivably complex guitar work. There’s such great vision on this album that even with its two main faults, I love it. I can’t wait to hear what comes next from these guys.
Chthonic Cult’s I Am The Scourge Of Eternity is out now on Iron Bonehead Productions and Necroshrine Records.
Hyperborean – Guitars, Vocals;
D.S.P. – Drums
Oblivion – Session bass