Inculcator – Void Abecedary (Review)

InculcatorInculcator is a one-man UK black metal project. This is his début album.

With roots firmly growing out of the distant 80s, this is black metal with thrash influences. Or thrash metal with blackened influences. Who cares; turn up the volume, press play and revel in the ridiculously OTT 80s nature of this thoroughly endearing release.

The recording has a wonderfully cosmic edge, surely influenced by the choice of cover. Or the other way around, maybe? Once again, who cares? It sounds great and so authentically old-school it’s just shocking. I mean, has this really been released in 2016? Are we absolutely sure this hasn’t come out of some form of time capsule? No?

Void Abecedary sounds like some long-lost demo from a proto-black metal band that was starting to explore the darker avenues of music via the medium of underground thrash. Somewhat reminiscent of early Kreator, Slayer and Venom if they had experimented with spacefaring black metal.

With some quality riffs and molten solos and leads, it’s clear that the brains behind the outfit can play and that he also has an ear for this kind of thing. However, I’m still not 100% convinced that this isn’t the product of some form of time travel, so it could be that it truly was a product of the 80s in some way…maybe…

The different parts of the songs flip between black and thrash influences at the drop of a hat. Some parts are purely one or the other, while other bits blur the line between the two. It’s not seamless, but that’s missing the point. When you have slower, black metal atmospheres suddenly changing into ripping thrash metal riffs, they’re so well done the transition doesn’t matter. This is music that is made up of a heap of different parts, and Void Abecedary is very much greater than the sum of these.

I can’t quite decide how much I like this. I mean, I do like it, a lot; that’s not the issue. Rather, I haven’t quite worked out just how damn much I like it. It’s got such character and personality that I can’t help but smile when I listen to it. On the other hand it’s such an obvious anachronism that to truly, completely appreciate all of its charms I have to be in the mood for it.

Sod it. This is such a good release, all I can do is just relish how utterly incompatible it is with most metal out there today and listen to it all the more because of it.

I imagine that the uncompromisingly old-school 80s feel of Inculcator will put many people off. Well, who cares about them? Their loss. For myself, I’m so happy that this has found its way into my life. I don’t care what you normally listen to; listen to this and your life will be improved.

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