Oblique to All Paths

Oblique to All Paths

Considering they’ve never played in the same room together, the four members of Culted achieve an impressive synergy that balances relentless precision with seething chaos. Oblique to All Paths pushes the foursome’s harrowing metallurgy to even greater extremes than on previous releases, stacking squalls of lacerating guitar and roaring vocals on top of trudging rhythms. The secret of this potent brew is the careful layering of the tracks. Small but telling touches (like the lonesome hi-hat cymbal on “Illuminati”) stand out in bold relief against thick, billowing backgrounds, creating effects far more subtle than are usually found on black/doom metal projects. There’s a surprising amount of melody here, even amid the punishing riffage, waves of searing distortion, and snatch of disturbing dialogue. Singer Daniel Jansson stands in the center of this aural storm, gasping and howling like a soul in eternal torment. From the slow-building, symphonic-tinged menace of “Brooding Hex” to the brutal slog of “March of the Wolves” and the toxic swirl of “Jeremiad,” Culted make no concession to mainstream appetites.

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