Cult Cinema – Iscariot Review

Cult Cinema // Iscariot

Rating: 3.5/5.0 — Avant-garde black metal ain’t so avant-garde anymore
Label: Siege of Amida

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Release Dates: Out Now Worldwide

Cult Cinema - IscariotWhen Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord first crash-landed in scenic France sometime during the early 2000s, their UFOs were never found (or so claimed the authorities [The truth is out there!AMG]). Two humongously wide and deep scars were carved onto the mossy surface of an isolated forest somewhere however, razing most of it with nefariously glowing-blue flames; and from their sprawling points of impact, the two flaming trails skewed off in different directions. Many conspiracy theorists now believe in the main school of thought that one led Blut Aus Nord to the department of Calvados, while the other led Deathspell Omega to the city of Poitiers. In 2002, huge black holes leading to cavernous underground dwellings were discovered in slums of both locations, and when 2003 and then subsequently 2004 arrived, it became clear what those underground caves have been breeding: Avant-garde black metal.

Both Blut Aus Nord’s 2003 classic, The Work which Transforms God, and Deathspell Omega’s 2004 classic, Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice, rudely awoke the slothful black metal community with their other-worldly tunes that sound like they took inspiration from Uranus’ gaseous sound patterns Jupiterian folk music and borrowed elements from Silent Hill’s creepy video game soundtracks. They showed just how much more one could push black metal’s boundaries, and it was a huge middle finger up Uranus the mortal asses of intellectually inferior black metal Earthlings. [Heh. Heh. Heh.. He said Uranus. – Butthead]

Cult Cinema have given themselves a very apt name indeed. It brings to mind a kongregation of armored, black metal knights at a movie theatre, popping krvnchy baby skvlls into their movths while throwing the horns vp at the screening ov the latest old black-and-white Lovecraftian horror movie. It is great that their mvsik kan bring to mind svch an imaginary scene playing ovt (thanks to their high-pitched, atonal gvitar melodies and vtilization of Darkthrone-ish ovtbvrsts as pvnktvation etc.) and okay let’s stop with this kvlt spelling. [Yeah, dude, you’re banned from ever doing that again. – AMG] However, so did Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord.

Not Black MetalWhenever an experimental movement is put into motion, it always inevitably ends up being a cliché itself when its influence becomes widespread enough to inspire too many copycats later on. Of course, there are good and bad copycats, and Cult Cinema are some of the good copycats. Make no mistake, they actually do this alien black metal thingamajiggy well; but after nearly a decade since the invasion of Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord, avant-garde black metal isn’t really “avant” anymore.

For a record that is only an EP (and only slightly over 19 minutes long), this is pretty darned impressive. The grim and surreal album art slays too, although it might look slightly better with a headless horseman swinging his sword below the dangling, hung-up corpse. Too bad this debut effort by Cult Cinema arrived too late on black metal soil that has long been mutated by the extraneous touch of the French black metal scene.

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