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Kult ofenzivy > Symfonie oceli > Reviews
Kult ofenzivy - Symfonie oceli

Yeah I thought TH was pretty cool too - 82%

Noktorn, April 23rd, 2008

Czech 'Transilvanian Hunger' worship sounds like one of the most unappealing things in the world to me. Kult Ofenzivy makes it work, though; probably because the idea of 'Transilvanian Hunger' worship that you have right now is considerably different from how it's realized on this album. It helps that they're not trying too hard; there's no names anywhere, no contact, no grim pictures, nothing at all the distinguish this band apart from the more-minimalist-than-most cover art that's probably a graphic designer's worst nightmare. It's cool music, though; very traditional and clearly Norwegian-inspired black metal that'll please essentially any fan of the genre. I almost want to ask that the band go a bit further and do more with the talent they have, but beggars can't be choosers and what's here is good music.

The music here sounds enormously similar to 'Transilvanian Hunger', but it sounds specifically like those seven songs after the title track which no one cares about. You know, the ones with all those textured, dark riffs that aren't as instantly memorable as the 10-9-7-9 delight of the original? Thought so. Anyway, that style of riffing; the delicate changes in chord shape through deliberate tremolo picking and deeply minor key, ever-so-slightly dissonant melody, is what's employed to great effect on this album, really channeling a sense of dark, medieval, vampiric atmosphere, which is exactly the sort of atmosphere I enjoy in my black metal! Vocals are employed in a similar manner as on 'Transilvanian Hunger' if they are different in tone; individual lines are scattered throughout the music and delivered with little discernible rhythm. Different, though, is the precise sound, with Kult Ofenzivy employing a low, half-spoken rasp to the traditional shrieks of Darkthrone. Throw in a bass tone lifted directly from Dub Buk and a marginally more active drum performance and you have the whole which is 'Symfonie Oceli'.

It's a pretty straightforward album. Not a lot of layering, no real experimentation; just pure black metal. If you love early Gorgoroth/Darkthrone/etc., you'll absolutely adore this. It's better when you let it soak into you and let yourself be transported to Transylvania for a little while- the mountain so cold and all. It's most certainly not for those who need their sense of open-mindedness flattered by every note, but for those seeking very pure and strong black metal that was apparently dug out of a time capsule from '94, there's little better out there now.

One of my 2007 favourites! - 90%

oneyoudontknow, January 3rd, 2008

I know next to nothing of this band. They are from Czech. They play Black Metal. They have one release out. More cannot be found. No Myspace site, no entry at a label-site, no homepage. Also no line-up, no info whatsoever where the album was recorded and even not how many copies of it have been distributed. This very release appeared suddenly out of the nowhere and its quality is just astounding.

The music of Kult Ofenzivy is Black Metal how it was meant to be played in the early days of this genre. Expect no keyboards, no complex arrangements, no solo-like parts and all this modern crap which was woven into it since the mid of the nineties. Guitars, bass and drums are used on this album and nothing more; also sound samples are spared out. Together they are able to create an atmosphere which leaves high hopes of the things to come by this band. Excellent song-writing can be examined on this record and a level of catchiness can be perceived in the songs which a lot of bands would find too tough to topple.

Kult Ofenzivy’s music is pretty bass-less. Neither the bass-drum nor the bass-guitar is able to give the music some power, but the music does not necessarily need these elements. Dominating are the vocals and their dark murmur-like sound is compensating the absence to bass to a good deal. The music relies on the dark atmosphere which is created through them and somehow their vanishing is lethal to a song for instance; the last track of Symfonie Oceli is an instrumental and the weak spot of the album, as the lack of vocals cannot be compensated in any way. Furthermore and not very surprisingly, as it can be examined on a variety of other releases from different genres, is the attempt of singing too much text in a short period of time subpar, Právem na¨ím. It is an aspect which can be (could have been) prevented in the first place by adjusting the lyrics to the tempo and rhythm or re-writing them entirely. Being limited to merely one track and rather in the way that the vocals tend to be rather like some kind of talking and not singing, the negative impact on the music is quite minimal.

Yet with the previous paragraph not all aspect of the here performed vocals have been entirely covered. Beside the dependence on them in order to create an atmosphere, they are also, from a different point of view, something like an outstanding characteristic of Kult Ofenzivy. Unlike a lot of BM bands, the style of the vocals is not (high) screams or the like, but instead the exact contrary is offered here. A combination of murmuring and growling – think about Ares of Aeternus, but in a grimmer and darker style – gives the music a facet through which it gains some sort of outstanding note. The evil side, which often associated with Black Metal, can be felt through the way it is transported by the vocalist. Furthermore should be emphasized that the Czech lyrics work well with this kind of music and it can be doubted that English would have the same impact on Kult Ofenzivy’s art as their native language has. Zlo, another band from Czech, also use the language they have been born with, whereby the music gains some hard to explainable quality through this. Perhaps it is merely this out of the ordinary which makes music sung in a different tone different, but perhaps the phrases and words in a tongue work are actually able to create a ‘special’ atmosphere.

Even though the vocals are an important factor, worthless would their performance be, would it not be for the instruments to a lay a sound foundation. Darkthrone is one band cited in the advertisements on several internet-sites and as the ‘general attempt’ seems to be to create old-school Black Metal, this reference is quite obvious and also not avoidable. Yet Kult Ofenzivy does not merely try to rip of one of the legendary bands. Their song-writing shows some neat ways on how to write good Black Metal, but trying to evolve it further. Monotonous riffs and repetition is often unavoidable, nevertheless it is possible to distract the listener a bit from this minimalist approach by using some variation on the motives in order to effect the whole composition. Especially the drums use this kind of approach to a good deal. Now a small additional cymbal ring was added, then the snare-drums break out of the monotony etc.… the music is never boring or dull, but fascinating to listen to, as the band is using the elements they have in a proper way: to grab the listener and to never let him loose again.

Of course there is something which could be criticized, like the absence of bass, but the effect of this flaw on the music is too limited to emphasize it. Perhaps this is also rather due to an unbalanced production, as the vocals are quite in the foreground, while the drums and especially the bass-drums are in the background; the guitars are adequate and good produced, though.

To give a band a 90 point rating for a debut is mad in some respect. “Excellent” would be a fitting description for this kind of score in my rating system, yet I have no choice but to give it. Nothing else is appropriate in my opinion and my reluctance to give such high scores, because there is always something that could be and should be criticized, has to step back for this release. Even after several weeks this album has lost nothing of its quality and I will surely listen to it for a good deal in the future. Recommended to those in favour of old-school Black Metal and if someone favours this kind of particular style, this person cannot go wrong with this record.

Performance: as old-school Black Metal as it can get.
Production: could use some more bass, but quite good nonetheless.
Song-writing: see performance and you know what to expect.
Annoying: the instrumental perhaps, as it is the weak spot on this album.
Booklet: 4 pages, with lyrics of two songs. No information on the band and the like.
Length: 28:51, which might be a little bit short, but the quality is able to compensate this.