Culted – Vespertina Synaxis: A Prayer for Union & Emptiness (Review)

Culted - Vespertina Synaxis - A Prayer for Union & EmptinessCulted are an international blackened doom band and this is their latest EP.

I really enjoyed 2014’s Oblique to All Paths, and have been waiting for a new Culted release ever since. Well, now it’s here in the shape of this 27-minute EP. Boasting three tracks, Vespertina Synaxis: A Prayer for Union & Emptiness is a sinister exploration of Culted’s world.

The band play foul, malevolent doom that’s infected by blackened darkness and a breeding ground for virulent industrial noise. Somewhere between Khanate and Abstracter, this new release gives us a taste of what a future Culted full-length might look like.

A Prayer for Union, the first track, is essentially an intro of sorts, mixing acoustic guitars with samples and noise electronics. It sets a certain grim, despondent mood, but is otherwise unremarkable.

Dirt Black Chalice is where the release truly starts. Claustrophobic and oppressive, this is 10 minutes of gloomy, malignant doom, like a slow-moving monolith of destructive negativity. This dirge is bleak and filled with the atmosphere of an industrialised mass funeral process. The song has thick riffs and discordant melodies, harsh inhuman vocals, and a Cult of Luna-esque swagger, (only darker and more evil). It ends with a descent into noise and rhythmic malevolence.

A Prayer for Emptiness starts where Dirt Black Chalice leaves off in some ways, although of a different character. The track is all understated menace, with a crawling sort of creeping hostility born from dark noises and sludgy sounds. It’s a 12-minute mood piece that acts as an extended outro to the main event of Dirt Black Chalice, while also being a complete entity in its own right.

It’s good to have Culted back, and Vespertina Synaxis: A Prayer for Union & Emptiness is an effective experimental foray back into the world of extreme metal.

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