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Pestis Cultus – Pestis Cultus Award winner

Pestis Cultus
Pestis Cultus
by Eric Moxon at 21 February 2021, 4:01 PM

Australian 3 piece Black Metal outfit PESTIS CULTUS emerge onto the scene as they released their first self-titled full-length album this year on February 12. Formed from the ashes of SNORRI in 2019, when they decided to take a different approach and change their name. SNORRI released 2 demos and a split through Signal Rex from 2016 – 2017 before changing their name. The sound PESTIS CULTUS delivers is crushing, sinister, evil, and broodingly misanthropic, encapsulating the true and dark nature of filthy- raw, crypt-born Black Metal.

Members of this project are long running veterans in the local Perth scene, having each been involved in various other projects. The production on this release is all live recorded in 1 or 2 takes. The drums recorded through tape, giving it that wickedly unholy, iconic and raw sound Black Metal puritans crave. Mastered by Henry Sorvali of MOONSORROW, the music relies on the standard Black Metal structure. Delivered through a serious of rollicking blast-beats, tremolo riffing, interspersed with slow chugging Sludge sections and the occasional Thrashy d-beat passage. The vocals have appropriate reverb and sound brilliantly executed through layers of torment and malevolent energy; sending this album shredding salaciously with a ferocious turpitude that is unmatched in the local scene of origin. Perth seems to love that melodic and depressive style of crybaby Black Metal. This shit will put hair on your chest as it grabs you by the balls and pummels your ears into submission. No fuckin’ around here.

The track "Lazarus" opens the album up by setting the mood, entrancing you with a dark ritualistic intro contributed to the album by none other than pioneer and legend MORTIIS. This intro gives a vague power electronics kind of vibe, as it really would not be out of place in any Harsh Noise/Dark Ambient style of release. This intro fades off into the distance before erupting into track 2, "Into The Endless Darkness". The vocals and instruments open up explosively as the music coils with power and hatred. Add in some pick squeals on the whammy bar during the finale and you got yourself a mighty fine Black Metal track.  This ferocious energy is replaced with a slow and powerful impending riff of doom as it transitions into "Black Mass". Double bass drums compound on the meter before slowing to a halt, only to give birth to some evil crust-laden thrashing passages.

Each track is unique while maintaining the same vibe and atmosphere as the last and of the entire album as a whole. Loaded with dirty riffs, cruel cymbal abuse, filthy distorted bass guitar, and frigid atmospheric interludes performed through clean guitars that meld together to create an unholy, dark narrative atmosphere.

Possibly my favorite track on the album would have to be "Abel De La Rue", simply for the sake of how unrelenting it is. The song is played impeccably fast at breakneck speeds, and the riffs are just downright sinister. You think the song is concluding before opening up into a new passage as the leads shred beneath the mix, ripping little solos in between.

Finally, the last track I’d like to talk about it the outro track, "Apocrypha", included as another contribution made by MORTIIS. This track transitions quite nicely from the end of "To The Old Ruins" and it maintains that same dark atmosphere found in the intro. Eerie and forlorn, it sounds as though you are trapped in a dungeon awaiting your doom as starvation takes hold. Dark and immersive, "Apocrypha" concludes this self-titled gently and gracefully as the album floats off into the void.

If you think immediately think of bands like HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY or BATUSHKA type shit when you think of Black Metal, this album might not be for you. However, if you genuinely love Black Metal, I’d say this album should be on your to do list. Any fan of stuff like BEHERIT, BETHLEHEM, BLASPHEMY, or even RIDE FOR REVENGE could easily get behind a project like this.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Lazarus
2. Into Endless Darkness
3. Black Mass
4. Cursed
5. Black Tongue Hymn
6. H.H.I.
7. Abel De La Rue
8. To The Old Ruins
9. Apocrypha
B. C. – Bass
B. H. - Drums
Old – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Signal Rex


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Edited 01 December 2022

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