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Deathstars - The Perfect Cult

The Perfect Cult
by Erika Kuenstler at 22 May 2014, 3:38 PM

It has been a long five years since “Night Electric Night” for fans of DEATHSTARS, but 2014 bears the news they have so long anticipated: the long awaited fourth album, “The Perfect Cult”, by Swedish Gothic Metallers is finally here! With Bone W. Machine and Cat Casino having left in between the two releases, I was eager to see how DEATHSTARS’ music has changed in the interim, with the short answer being that it has barely changed at all.

The first track “Explode” starts out softly and creeps in slowly on the remnants of tattered wings; an aircraft drones overhead, and suddenly the synths and guitars break in. And what comes oozing out of my speakers is the unmistakable sound of DEATHSTARS. Granted, the bassline carried during the chorus may be a little lighter than on their previous releases, and the overall composition may be slightly fuller and more epic than comparable tracks from earlier albums, but “Explode” nevertheless contains all the essential elements that give DEATHSTARS their distinctive sound. Following on from this is “Fire Galore”, a faster-paced song which is tempered by slower and more melodic keyboard driven melodic passages. With the recent release of the music video for “All the Devil’s Toys”, fans have already been given a small taste of what to expect from the album: it’s good albeit a little too bright. However, the end of this song marks the end of the lighter and slightly dull first half of the album.

The second half of the album is a stark contrast to the first; the music takes a darker and more tempestuous twist here. The title track of the album, “The Perfect Cult”, is one of the better ones in my opinion: slower and darker than the previous tracks with the archetypal depraved spin in the lyrics. The next track “Asphalt Wings” is my favourite song on the new album; dark, dirty, and strong, this track is definitely one of the outstanding highlights of the album. “Bodies” is another powerful song that completely captivates you and pulls you down into its destructive degeneracy, a trend that is carried on and even amplified in “Temple of Insects”. The final track, “Noise Cuts”, still rides on this wave of powerful and darker melodies, although this is taken down a notch, bringing the listener back up from the pit of corruption in which you find yourself engulfed in in the latter portion of the album.

Overall, “The Perfect Cult” in all its 42 minute glory does not represent anything completely new or innovative, but then again, why should it? DEATHSTARS have clearly stuck with their proven formula for writing tracks. I find it difficult to assign this album a rating; on the one hand, critics will claim that “The Perfect Cult” is a pure recycling effort of all of DEATHSTARS’ previous melodies, whilst fans will likely claim that the band has distilled their unique sound, and that “The Perfect Cult” is the quintessential follow-up to “Night Electric Night”. However, what is clear is the divide between the first and second halves of the album, bringing to mind an auditory representation of the yin yang symbol: the first half is lighter and frankly slightly lacklustre, with a hint of underlying darkness. Conversely, the second half is nothing short of a decadence of dark immorality.

My overall impression is that “The Perfect Cult” is more synth-driven and Gothic elements come more to shine in this album than in previous works, although certain elements such as Whiplasher’s vocals have not changed at all. If you were somewhat disappointed by the direction taken in “Night Electric Night”, then chances are that “The Perfect Cult” won’t exactly blow you away, although I would definitely recommend basing your judgements on the second half of the album. It will be interesting to see how DEATHSTARS manage to perform this fuller album in a live context with their current four-man lineup, and I for one can’t wait to see them on their European tour later this year.

4 Star Rating

1. Explode
2. Fire Galore
3. All The Devil's Toys
4. Ghost Reviver
5. The Perfect Cult
6. Asphalt Wings
7. Bodies
8. Temple Of The Insects
9. Track, Crush & Prevail
10. Noise Cuts
Whiplasher – Vocals
Nightmare Industries – Guitar, Keyboards
Skinny Disco – Bass, Backing Vocals
Vice – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 27 June 2019

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