Sometimes you need music that makes you want to punch a hole in the universe. Sometimes there’s a rage inside of you that begs to be expressed through thrashing guitars, growling vocals, and thunderous drums. Sometimes you just need raw intensity that pummels your senses and leaves you begging for more. When those times come, a copy of Cult Leader’s Lightless Walk will give you everything you need and more.
Rising from the ashes of the highly regarded grindcore group Gaza, Cult Leader has been slowly trickling out music for a few years, but Lightless Walk is their first proper LP and it’s a hell of a debut. Recorded and engineered by the mighty Kurt Ballou (Converge, guys), Lightless Walk is relentless and raw. It feels like the band is playing an inch away from your ears, blasting you dark, heavy tunes. Right from the first track, “Great I Am,” you know that you are in for a crushing experience. Lightless Walk doesn’t pull any punches, it just keeps throwing haymakers into your freaking face until you are bloody and battered. Figuratively speaking.
This isn’t to say that it’s all blast beats and feedback. At times, the band spirals into nightmare-fueled darkness, slowing down and bring a heavy sludge-infused drone with songs like “A Good Life” and “Lightless Walk.” There’s no trickery going on in these tracks, no over dubs and big effects, it’s still just guys armed with guitars, bass, drums, but it’s haunting all the same. At times, it’s reminiscent of bands like Neurosis and Converge, which is the biggest compliment I can give a band.
Cult Leader’s Lightless Walk is not for everybody. It’s brutal and crushing, the kind of music that feels like bottled fury. That said, if you like your music heavy and raw, you have to listen to this album. It’s beautiful in its unrelenting hideousness, powerful and dark. Without a doubt, this is one of the best albums of the year and when it comes to grinding, metal-drenched hardcore? It’s just the freaking best.
Image: Cult Leader