The St.Louis goth rock band The Cult Sounds have quickly become one of my favourite discoveries during my journeys searching through the latest release of Bandcamp. Starting out on Halloween of 2018 with their cover of the goth classic
Bela Lugosi Is Dead` by Bauhaus, The Cult Sounds has so far released a self-titled EP, a couple more cover tracks and more recently a reissue of the self-titled release fully remixed and remastered.
With their gloomy punk sensibilites with just enough of a pop element to get stuck in your head after only one listen, the band has begun carving out a name for themselves and leaving their mark on the underground alternative music scene and is sure to go far beyond those borders in the next few years if their upcoming album is anything to go by.
From the moment you hit play the drama begins in the form of a bell, perhaps a funeral bell? Choirs and luscious synth pads build up slowly as a melody reminiscent of the theme song of The Exorcist appears as if to playfully tease you before a piano, increasingly fast paced drumbeats and guitars smack you over your head and before you know it we`re off.
13 Candles , straight off the bat [no pun intended] serves you exactly what The Cult Sounds is about. Dark, goth rock n roll with vocal melodies I`m sure one day will be sung by a black clad crowd accepting the band as their new lords and saviours. Immediatly one can pick up on influences ranging from AFI all the way to Tribulation and whatever may lie between the two, which is quite alot indeed.
Ritual Scars starts off with a simple allurring bassline and explodes into an orgy of guitar, drums , wailing synths and dives back down again for vocalist Bennet Huntley to deliver the cults gospel with a voice that`s both commanding and melodic as the siren like synths dance along the guitars in the background. I reccomend listening to this twice just to catch some of the details of the drums on this one
Afterlight`s guitar work is simple yet effective, 70s punk influenced bringing to mind bands like New York Dolls and The Runaways paired with slower sections reminiscent of a more punk rock doom metal accompanied by organs and the exact right amount of attitude.
Next up is the single
What Gets Done In The Night starting off with a classic deathrock riff before Bennet verbally punchess you in the heart, but in a good sense, like those times where you hear an old favourite song you havent heard in years and a very particular nostalgia hits you. Thats not to say the single sounds dated or too alike anything from the past, quite the contrary actually, it simply has the quality of becoming one of the songs you hear in X amount of years from now and you get to live in a hopefully blissful past for a minute, although considering the era this album is born into that might not be the most likely scenario.
The Avalanche begins as if melancholy itself embraced you with it
s soft acoustic sounding guitar, slow almost apatethic sounding tom drum hits and vocals repeating the line "A few more days untill the end" leaving you wondering if this is a celebratory or sad occassion for a moment. The song evolves into its namesake, an avalanche indeed as it grows continually until …Well you`ll just have to buy the album and hear for yourself I suppose.
The Seventh Seal, possibly a reference to the Ingmar Bergmann movie, starts off with a guitar melody that reminds me of old Norwegian folk music with it
s almost blissful adventorous feeling, like a fairytale with woodland sprites and empty churches. Towards the middle the song slows itself down entering trance inducing areas that give rise to visions of serpents speaking in incense smoke and candle light before it all stops for just a second and the bass nudges you back into this feral dance one more time before letting you go and sending you into the tribal drums of Death Has Name which may just be one of my top three tracks with its fresh breath of a simple synth line, catchy, sing along worthy chorus. Theres so much going on throughout this albums soundscape you just have to listen to it several times in order to catch each element of the oh so cleverly constructed, seemingly simple and straightforwards songs. There`s a wealth of atmosphere just waiting for you within the crooks ans crannies.
re slowly moving towards the end of our journey and appropriatly enough were greeted by
Pale White Horses , a melancholic ballad-esque song, a shift in pace from the gloom and doom punk rock but once again complete with a chorus worthy to sing along to one day when we can all spill beer on each other as were pressed up together in a tiny smoke filled club where going to the bathroom seems like entering an alternate dimension as you hear the whistling melody of the song calling you to come back out and join the band in their prayer.
Verbis Diablo snaps you out of your mournful state, grabs your hands and nearly forces you into this firey, serpentine dance, swirling with the guitars and thunderous drums as Bennet, from the eye of the storm, tells you what
s what. We get a little taste of the guys black metal influences in the shape of a quick little blast beat section that blends seamlessly into the rest of the song. Oh how I wish the youth of today will stumble upon this album and allow it to devour them completely.
re at the end of our journey my friends and it feels a bit sad as you never want it to end, when you hear an album of this quality you want it to keep going forever, the closing track Relinquish
d, does however serve you a worthy adieu with its layers of acoustic guitars, orchestral gloom pulling on your heart strings one last time, leaving a black little mark that stains you with the mark of the cult for all eternity
Choosing favourites is never easy when an album is “All killer, No filler” as it were but I`ll pick Death Has A Name and Pale White Horses, though having to choose between Verbis Diablo and the masterpiece of a closing track might be too much of a struggle.
ve championed The Cult Sounds from the first day I heard them and I will keep doing so till the day I die, I hope to see them reach the same success their many influences has and possibly even go beyond that.