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Ordinary yet convincing - 76%

Felix 1666, January 6th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Hammer of Hate Records

It might come as a surprise, but black metal and beautiful women have one thing in common. You just can´t get enough of both. What is more, a nice lady does not need to have any unique features to be nice. The same applies to black metal. It does not need to appear unique or very innovative to be black. It´s just a fine thing if black metal sounds really black. With regard to "Cultus Nex", this is exactly the case. The band walked the well trodden paths of the genre without leaving a stale taste. Its energetic performance marked their greatest asset. Nevertheless, their songwriting skills also knew how to please. Sacrilegious Impalement created an amazing mix of melodic yet haunting sequences and violent parts that benefitted from an omnipresent unholy atmosphere.

The full-length was kicked off by a slow-moving instrumental. Due to its dark aura, it opened the door to the underworld of the Finnish horde while giving a clear indication of what could be expected during the following 35 minutes. The listener took a trip through dark woods and mysterious swamps. In any case, the album had its best moments when shining with some real morbid riffs. "Revelations... The Coming!" proved this quite emphatically, just listen to the guitar at 3:15. It exhibited a fantastic riff while delivering this special ghostly touch that every black metal release needs. This riff reminded me of the most gripping sequences of the Swedish Pest before they decided to integrate traditional heavy metal chords. By the way, a very bad decision. But this is another story. To put it in a nutshell, these Finnish guys presented a very Swedish sound, which was also comparable to that of bands like Setherial or Rev 16:8.

However, these riffs as described above marked only the tip of the iceberg. Inter alia because of the solid production, not even the weakest ray of light shone into the area of Sacrilegious Impalement. The impenetrable aura of their somber output left no room for bright moments. Apart from this, songwriter "Impaler Von Bastard" skillfully mixed rapid parts and unholy mid-tempo sections. Due to the high degree of maturity of the compositions, "Cultus Nex" did not join the ranks of the debut albums of those bands that should never have seen the light of day. Let me emphasize once more, the band did not reinvent the wheel. You can pick out, for example, the demonic vocals as well as the pseudonyms of the musicians. Sacrilegious Impalement did not deliver any totally new element. Nevertheless, they mastered their metier. Of course, they were no absolute beginners any more after having recorded two EPs. Independent of that, some competitors publish tons of albums without reaching a solid compositional level. But Sacrilegious Impalement did not waste our time with throwaway tracks. They were clever enough to fill this album only with thoroughly selected songs.

The last number offered a hidden track. This seems to be a beloved bad habit. However, this track did not show any features which had been hidden so far. It just marked the fairly successful conclusion of an album that offered ordinary yet convincing standard black metal. The girls you know may use the standard cosmetics, too. Nevertheless, some of them are surely pretty nice.

Playing it safe for Satan's graces - 70%

autothrall, October 12th, 2010

Sacrilegious Impalement sees another merging of infernal forces into a new, diabolic whole, these particular miscreants hailing from the ranks of other, obscure Finnish black metal acts like Uncreation's Dawn, Urn and Goatsodomy, all of whom 'keep it real' through their myriad, unholy interpretations of the traditional landscape of hell on Earth that we all try to turn a blind eye towards in our ultimately futile lives. However, perhaps we have no cause for concern, as the Finnish members of this band, who wield the godless names of Hellwind Inferion, Von Bastard, Revenant, and Tooloud (which is possibly my favorite), seem to have our backs, indulging in enough death and damnation that perhaps any theoretical divine being might spare the rest of us from further purgatory. Cheers to that!

Cultus Nex is the debut album, following a pair of EPs, and it draws upon all the expected influences, in particular Bathory and Hellhammer. Fast, flowing rhythms are given a considerable depth due to the album's rather strong production, not a common trait among underground Finnish black metal releases. What's more, the vocals of Hellwind Inferion often verge on death metal, or rather a lower, more guttural black rasp, and this lends the material a heavy bottom end weight that anchors the hellish of repetitive guitar rhythms. At best, the band are moving full force forward, as in "Total Annihilation", "Utterly Rotten" or "Holy Terror", demonic air strikes that leave no room for breath or forgiveness as they rain infernal napalm to scorch the ears of the beholden, but they are also capable of pacing themselves with some eerie, slower moments, at least in the intros to several tracks. "March of Doom" feels like something off Blood, Fire, Death if it were given a more modern studio treatment and lyrically abandoned the Vikings for the Legions of the underworld, great for swilling or swinging a mug of brimstone.

Sacrilegious Impalement squeaks by here, barely evading mediocrity, but not because they're necessarily original or all that inspiring. The song titles alone will tell you that there's not a lot of ambition happening, as most have been used before a number of times on the extreme end of metal, and the black/white imagery and album title all feel rather played out. The riffs themselves offer a sheen of dense atmosphere that betrays the rather crude writing, and played loudly enough, Cultus Nex does offer the expectant, ritual immersion of its genre. The deathly spin on the vocals adds a little more incentive, and the production sounds great on headphones, car speakers and so forth, so those expecting a very distant, toilet mix might be disappointed at the quality. Ultimately, it's another of those largely traditional black metal albums that I enjoyed for the duration (about 43 minutes with the bonus track), but won't be compelled to write home to Hell about any time soon.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com