Cruel Bloom is a band from my town, and they make one helluva noise. Their bass player (Russ) sold me my Tele, and I work with the guitarist/vocalist (Richard). It was he who hooked me up with this newest release (which dropped a month ago, in February), and told me they are a trio now, so accordingly their sound has changed from previous releases. In fact, the direct quote was that the sound is “if Entombed was a crust punk band now.” Hell yes. I’m in! Of course, I played these six tracks through the good headphones at high volume.
Gloom starts off with a minute or so of static and a slow build of rattling noises before the guitar chug begins. By the time the band crashes in and the song takes you, you know you’re in for a pummeling. This is so great! The howled vocals are perfect, and the crashing main bit is so fucking satisfying. Graves gives no space for a breather as it comes stomping into your skull. There’s something Black Flag about this one, not so much in the sound but in the feel. It’s heavy as hell, but it swings and shifts its tempo beautifully. Church Of The Glass Pipe wails in like a siren and then the bass takes over with a great heavily funky riff. Of course the tune is built to destroy and, as it achieves lift-off, it’s unrelentingly powerful. What a huge sound! Just past the mid-point it breaks off and the tune dies screaming in electronic feedback.
No Hope is straight-up bad-ass hardcore. It’s a great riff and it’s unapologetic in all the best ways. Absolutely punishing, and its message is there’s no hope for you! The instrumental section is brilliant, everything working great together… and then it abruptly ends! First listen I thought there was some mistake, I could have listened to a lot more of that… but now I’m sure it was meant that way – suck it up, buttercup! Return To Ash has so much menace and power packed into it, it’s unreal. There are points where it cuts to half-time and just punches its way into what’s left of your senses. This one also ends with a long stretch of feedback and noise, leaving one with the impression that it isn’t the song that’s frying out, it’s your synapses. Man I loved this track for how heavy it is, and for bringing the best of hardcore to the fore and then welding metal to it for a truly great sound. And finally, Death Eternal is pure sludge aggression. Everything about this song wants to tear the top off your head. What a solid tune, right to the bone! Check out the videos linked below. I’ve included the studio version, so you can hear how great this thing sounds. And I’ve also linked a live performance of the tune so you can see them in action! Whatever you do, as you play them, have the volume cranked!
Full marks to the band for musicianship here, there’s a lot going on in these songs, so repeat listens will reward you. I must also give full marks to the production. This does not sound like a local garage band’s release, slapped together in their basement. This is professionally done, the sound is clear and true and absolutely huge.
Death Culture is a mature, mighty, and unrelenting release. I fucking loved it.