Not many people know this, but we have an
unholy scripture. Its name is too forbidden to speak aloud, so we’ll simply call it “The Biblé.” It is entirely composed by the only worthy intermediary to stand between us lowly mortals and the Good Lords above: Master ov Muppets. A work of truth, “The Biblé” expounds such wisdom as “TheKenWord is the mayor of thy shitty insane asylum of a world” (Muppetronomy 8:12), “Don’t talk shit about Opeth, ye fuckwads” (1 Muppelonians 6:13), and “Holdeneye is basically Jesus” (Yomans 3:16). Another passage we must follow by heart is: “Thou shalt always, always generalize lest ye face the wrath of Steel though that’s not intimidating, yo.” (Muppelations 6:9). This brings us to today’s topic of discussion: Ulcerate, who also really likes to generalize. Like, if Everything is Fire, are they really The Destroyers of All? The real questions, man. Russian death metal quintet Horror God really likes Ulcerate. I mean, when you first listened to Everything is Fire, were you like “let’s make a cover band of Ulcerate” to your comrades? Cuz Horror God was, and Cursed Seeds is their third full-length, aiming for a solid win of dissonantly crafted death metal.
The Ten Commandments of Dissonant Death Metal states that all bands need to consider all dissonant gods,(Muppeticus 6:66) so if you know Gorguts and Ulcerate, you know virtually all you need to know about Horror God. Dissonant and technical flourishes piled atop complex rhythms and energetic drumming. Paying homage to these dissonant pioneers, as well as blackened low-enders Deathspell Omega,(“Whom shalt be exalted above all thy blacky slacky shenaniganizers.” – NecYonomicon 3:33) and deathy abusers Decrepit Birth and Immolation, while adding hints of Gojira‘s groove and a decidedly serene doom atmosphere, Cursed Seeds is a solid album whose reach exceeds its grasp and fails to establish a firm identity in the sea of dissonant contenders.
While debut Cold Shine tried too hard to be innovative and Planet of Ruins was a solid albeit derivative affair full of Gorguts worship, the Ruskis have clearly developed their dissonant sound with Cursed Seed and successfully incorporate a distinctively meandering aesthetic into the sonic tapestry. When the stars align and the influences hit that sweet spot, boy oh boy is it sweet. Tracks like “We Built These Walls Ourselves” and “They Were Behind the Barbed Wire” encapsulate the doomy atmosphere incredibly well, sporting a tastefully dissonant but simultaneously accessible sound that hearkens back to The Destroyers of All-era Ulcerate in its post-apocalyptic atmosphere enhanced by dissonant melodies, throwing in some crazy technical solos and solid Gojira-esque grooves to boot. The title track and closer “Thrones” are initially solid in their take-no-prisoners attitude and focus on brutality, showing Horror God‘s versatility.
However, much of Cursed Seeds lives in the shadow of its influences and its songwriting can get the better of it. While the brutality focus can be initially exciting, it grows repetitive because of lack of dynamic, thus the aforementioned tracks fall flat by the end. Cuts like “Face of War” and “Sunset” simply carry the meandering atmosphere too far, becoming wearisome. Contrary to the band’s list of impressive name-drops, ultimately it does little to challenge the upper echelon or even middle echelon of the already crowded sub-genre. Bands like John Frum and Pyrrhon, while perhaps not as prestigious as Gorguts or Ulcerate, have nevertheless released more challenging music than Horror God, so aside from the moments of doomy clarity, the sonic palette of Cursed Seeds feels like the Great Value brand of dissonant tech-death. While I was pleased by how relatively bite-sized (37 minutes) the album is, by the time “Sunset” hit, I felt worn out because of compounded directionless songwriting.
Generally, Cursed Seeds feels very middling. Horror God‘s approach to meandering technicality is certainly unique, but it’s hit or miss depending on the track. As the Muppety One relates, “Thou shalt punish thine impudent swine whose albums middle with shame and fishy smacks” (HeDrews 5:1), but at the same time, “Anyone who worships the dissonance and does so with much gusto shall be exalted” (Book ov the Muppocrypha, or How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Love the Muppet 9:99). So maybe “The Biblé” is a bit confused. Regardless, Horror God offers a dissonant tech-deathy tracklist of some hit or miss tunes, making it a difficult to generalize,1 and in the end feels too contrived to make an impact. Although, if you’ve got yourself a hankering for some dissonant death metal, this should satisfy.