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Culted: Oblique To All Paths

Inter-continental sludge alliance fails to gel on album number two

Culted’s ‘unique selling point’ – if such it be deemed – is that despite existing since 2007 the quartet have never played live, never rehearsed together, indeed never even actually met. This album was patched together by sending files via email between Gothenburg (vocalist Daniel Jansson’s home) and Winnipeg, Canada (where the others live).

But while this might sound like a troublesome setup, inhibiting chemistry and spontaneity, this sort of cryptic, blackened sludge potentially benefits from a sense of disjointedness and alienation in the creative process. It hasn’t done Culted much good, alas, as Oblique To All Paths meanders aimlessly through an over-familiar soundscape of leaden riffs, distorted gargles and kitchen-sink ambient noise, interminably belabouring its low-budget pretensions toward atmospheric profundity.

Of course it’s always fun to rub bits of lo-fi black metal grimnity against stretchy, plodding post-metal jams and garnish with spooky horror sound effects, but bands like Burning Witch, Esoteric and Yob long ago perfected the kind of crushing, post-apocalyptic hypno-doom effect that Culted are shakily aiming for.