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Crimson Cult - s/t 4/5

Reviewed: 7-10-09


1. Evil design
2. Undead
3. Land of the crimson night
4. In the eyes
5. Lava machine
6. Dirty demons
7. Misanthrope
8. 2000 lights
9. Amok
10. Centre of the universe

From out of Salzburg, Austria, the hills are certainly alive with music - metal music that is, with newly formed power metal group Crimson Cult releasing their 's/t' debut CD. In 2008, the band released a demo containing 5 tracks, and it was sent out to all the major record labels. It didn’t take very long before Dockyard 1 liked what they heard and signed the band. Then in May of 2009, Crimson Cult released this debut CD.

Crimson Cult consists of guitarist and keyboardist Gunter Maier, bassist Alexander Hilzensauer, drummer Peter “Beda” Bachmayer and vocalist Walter Stuefer. Formed by Gunter and Alex after the demise of their previous band Stygma IV, Crimson Cult continues the power metal beltings of Stygma IV, but also contains traces of speed metal, melodic metal, groove metal and doom metal; reflecting the preferred style of music from the 2 founders.

Finding vocalist Walter Stuefer was indeed a catch in the rye, as his emotional vocals hit the mark on every track. Being a singer who can remind you of so many other power metal vocalists, Stuefer (on the flip side) also sounds quite unique. There is, at times, an insatiable undertone of gruffness and grittiness in his voice that just hooks you in and sends you deeper into the tracks; fully appreciating the talents of this “first time” power metal vocalist. This is most frequent on tracks such as the CD opener “Evil design”, the kick ass “Undead” and “In the eyes”; whereas his softer, more melodic vocals comes forth in the track “Land of the crimson night” and “Lava machine”.

Typically creating a traditional modern power metal sound, although unclear on where their direction truly lies, Crimson Cult does delve into other metal genres, such as doom metal. On the track “Dirty demon”, the band could easily be mistaken for doom metal band Candlemass. The eerie wails of the down-tuned guitars and heavy bass were also reminiscent of the early years of Black Sabbath. Crimson Cult also tries their hand at modern power thrash, with a Morgana Lefay and Nevermore-esk sounding track called “Misanthrope” that becomes one of the standout songs on the release; particularly with the fist-pumping main riff which thunders throughout the track.

Dark metal also gets the Crimson Cult treatment on the blistering track “Amok”. Starting slow, the dark and somber sounding track bursts into aggression during the catchy chorus, with another hard-nosed riff leading the way and making “Amok” another standout. The entertaining CD comes to a close with the strange, yet interesting 8-minute song “Centre of the universe”. Not sounding anything like the other songs on the CD, the erratic track changes tempo constantly, as does Stuefer’s vocal styles.

Apart from the creative collection of metal genres within the release, one strong point of this band would be the very solid songwriting; remembering that they are a new band with a debut release. Some bands when they first start out try to cover a few genres before finding their niche; sometimes it works while sometimes it doesn’t. As far a Crimson Cult goes, their dabbling into other genres had worked a treat and many different metalheads from different metal backgrounds will definitely find something on this CD that they will enjoy. Another tick on the sheet would come from the excellent guitar work of Gunter Maier. He confidently stamps his authority on every song on the disc, with wondrous hard riffs and sensible yet extraordinary solos, which leaves you hanging for more.

Knowing nothing about Crimson Cult before hearing their 's/t' CD, I had no expectations. I must say that I have been quite pleasantly surprised of the quality and creativeness of this band. I do expect this CD and band to be successful, and make serious waves in years to come, if not right off the bat with this release.




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