I’m familiar with Ctulu from their second album Sarkomand, which was a savage album full of fast-paced blackened hatred.
Their latest release is similar in style, but more sophisticated and diverse in its scorn. This is still dark, aggressive music, of course, but there’s more nuance to the delivery in places alongside the more frenzied assaults.
There’s a good mix of fast and slow on this album, with the band’s songwriting skills making the most of the inherent darkness of the black metal style whenever they can. They have further incorporated mood and atmosphere alongside the furiously nasty parts of the music, and these work well to enhance the nightmare realms that the band already evoke.
I like the diverse amount of riffs on display here. From slow and melodic to blisteringly fast, we get a lot in between too, including a few thrashier sections now and again.
Each song has its own identity and character. The tracks on this release are surprisingly individual; they follow a stylistic whole, and flow well from one to the next, but they also jealously guard their own identity. I can’t applaud and salute this enough.
As with the wonderfully dark music, there’s a good deal of variety in the vocal attacks too, with all manner of different vocalisations happening throughout the album. They’re all performed well, regardless of what the singers are doing, and they work great with the varied music.
It feels as if Ctulu have pulled out all of the stops songwriting-wise on their fourth album and this has resulted in an extremely satisfying release. It’s black metal for sure, and it may have an overall stylistic direction, but within this framework the band provide a lot of different content and ideas to keep the listener’s interest. This is a very well-rounded and finely realised slice of icy hate. It’s an extremely impressive album, one that keeps you returning to it again and again.
I can’t recommend this highly enough. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s pretty damn essential.