[Albums] Phantom Winter – Cvlt


After Omega Massif‘s split, Andreas Schmittful did not waste time to announce a new project and quickly release a demo version of a song. After playing a very monolithic type of postcore very influenced by the heavier riffs of Neurosis and AmenRa, he seemed to have turned his attention to USBM with a mixture of sludgy riffs and demented vocals similar to the ones Xasthur used to make.

A few month later and here we have the much anticipated, and quite stereotypicaly called, Cvlt, and there are no disappointment in sight. Phantom Winter may not be a huge leap away from the sound Omega Massif had, this composition are definitely a step up creatively speaking. From a personal point of view, the first album from Omega Massif bored me even thought I was interested at the genre when it came out. Cvlt on the other hand showcase a much varied type of sonic pleasure by incorporating some discordant piano in Corpses collide and shrieked vocals who bring a lot of the emotion that the instrumental sludge of the German band was lacking. The more melodic touches of guitars feel like drops of water on a muddy lake, trembling with uncertainty but persistent. Resembling a black metal tremolo or light touches of post rock while never sticking to a particular style, they create a beautiful but quite disturbing contrast with the thick riffs.

Although quite repetitive, the natural sound of the riffs give them some weight and character that goes beyond the typical dark and heavy territory easily obtained by adding layers and layers of riffs. The recording has a very live feeling and gives life to even repetitive songs in the style of AmenRa (for the most part) such as Finster wald or Avalanche cities (a reference to Avalanche master song by Godflesh?). The drumming could have been more loose and less focused on creating a simple slow or a fast beat but since the actual power of the musician can be felt behind the wall of guitar it’s impact is not lost.

Even if some elements could be more developed, Cvlt is a very satisfying and coherent listen and I have no doubt that many people will find their brand of sludge pleasing. Much like AmenRa, I feel that their hypnotic sound will be more enjoyable live but Cvlt is still a very strong album with much to offer due to the quality of the songwriting and the recording.

Cvlt is available on CD and vinyl via Golden Antenna Records


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