Dark Dungeon Metal Overdrive!
Man, I was immediately obsessed with Cultic as soon as I heard 'em; their 2019 debut album High Command stomped me into the dirt with its visions of dark epic fantasy and primal death/doom. That album demonstrated Cultic's sure hand at grinding you into dust, their sound grounded in a fetid mixture of classic 1980s heavy metal, primitive death metal, Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, and a smattering of barbaric hardcore punk. But that pummeling style was elevated by its use of electronics, weird effects and post-industrial elements, turning their already sufficiently crushing and filthy death churn into something stranger, spacier, more otherworldly, perfectly encapsulating the feel and atmosphere that emanates from the band's stunning original artwork (from drummer Rebecca Magar, a talented visual artist and the force behind the art/design house Wailing Wizard). Fiery dragons and clashing medieval armies, eldritch monoliths and sinister sorcery - Cultic's album art evoked everything that I loved about the darker fantasy novels I read in my youth, backed by atomic hammer riffs, scowling vocals, vintage synthesizers, and dark martial bombast. That album and its 2022 follow-up Of Fire and Sorcery (both released on the band's own Eleventh Key label) featured a raw assault of vaguely psychedelic mid-paced Morbid Tales-damaged deathsludge, and from the early demos through to the latest album, Cultic has followed a contorted upward trajectory into ever-heavier, more down tuned riff-laden primacy.
In 2023, the band released the two-song Seducer EP through Eleventh Key. With new bassist Andrew Harris (also of Baltimore trad doom heavyweights Alms) joining the husband-and-wife team of Brian (vocals / guitar) and Rebecca (drums) Magar, these guys sounded more embittered, lustful, and just plain violent than ever. Ancient synths and gorgeous dark ambience, ethereal female vocals, and mesmeric dungeon industrial starts off the title track, then pulls the rug out from under you as the trio lunge out of the shadows with one of their heaviest riffs ever. The awesome screams and mocking, acid-tinged roars melt into the atavistic spaced-out doom-death as "Seducer" lumbers through more of those killer Moogy electronics and weird effects. It's ridiculously heavy in spite off all the bizarre hallucinatory audio swirling around. Then "Seduced" bathes you in eve more lush, grim keyboard sounds, the most kosmische kind of dungeon synth bliss, and once again the band scatters that bleary ether when they drop into another fucking scuzzy, spine-bending hunk of slo-mo death metal . It's terrific. These two songs have better production than previous recordings, while maintaining their raw, caustic filthiness. If these two tracks are indicative of what Cultic's next album is going to be like, god help us.
This expanded version of the band's Seducer EP includes the early demo version of "Seduced" which has its own alternate electronic charms, and reveals a much more primitive, caveman vision of that song. Like hearing early Cathedral jamming in some rickety, oil-stained garage, soused out of their gourds on dextromethorphan. It's rad. On the B-side, this release features several bonus tracks: first is the two-song Prowler demo from 2017, recorded when the band was just the original duo of Brian and Rebecca. Their first-ever recording, previously released on a now out-of-print CDR, Prowler sounds fully formed, just more raw and low-fi, and without the electronic elements that would later develop into their current sound. These two songs are crushers, "Cruel Orders" and "The Prowler" delivering those signature dark fantasy lyrics, trippy grunting vocals, and knuckle-dragging doom-death. In addition, the EP is rounded out by a feral 2018 live recording of "Conqueror" that unleashes the band's full war-wrath, and circles back around with a killer live 2019 recording of "Seducer" that's stripped down to its bulldozing basics.
Nearly forty minutes of primo gargantuan Gamma World barbarian death metal. So for an "EP", this Crucial Blast reissue crams in the goods. It's also beautifully designed by the band themselves: Seducer boasts more of Rebecca's striking, Frazetta-esque artwork, which perfectly captures the carnal violence of this music. It's one of the coolest looking tapes we've put out over here yet. I can't express how stoked I am to be working with this band, as I've been a longtime fan of the couple's work, both Rebecca's fantastic art and Brian's previous musical dark arts in the ritual black ambient / doom-drone outfits The Owls Are Not What They Seem and Layr. Can't recommend this band enough.
The release of the expanded Seducer EP on holy analog tape is further celebrated by this bitchin' brand-new Cultic shirt design, created specifically for this release. Featuring what might be my favorite Rebecca Magar art yet, the wicked three-color "Whip Seduction" shirt is printed by Forest Passage Printing on black Gildan 100% cotton garments, front print only.
This item combines the Cultic Seducer (Expanded Edition) Cassette with the "Whip Seduction" shirt, shipped together. This item will begin shipping the week of February 9th, 2024.