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Cult of Lilith: Mara

Cult of Lilith wants to describe themselves as “Necromechanial Baroque,” which is a pretty cool label even if it doesn’t make the most obvious sense. The idea has something to do with the band’s passion for blending classical structures with death metal and progressive metal, but even saying that doesn’t quite capture what’s happening here. This band also has a freewheeling side, one that draws on things like flamenco music and the harpsichord to keep listeners guessing. If you’re starting to wonder if the band is just making it up as they go, you wouldn’t be alone, but you wouldn’t necessarily be right. There is method to this madness and, somehow, it all works. As I listen to the album again, I’m amazed at how seamless it all sounds.

It helps that the band is just as brutal as they are freewheeling. The album opens with “Cosmic Maelstrom,” a blistering track (save for the short harpsichord opening) that jumps and dashes and strikes like a fighting cat. Things slow down ever so slightly for a clear and impressive guitar solo, but they quickly pick up again. This is one of the best tracks and also one of the band’s most straightforward songs.

As much as I enjoyed “Cosmic Maelstrom,” I liked “Purple Tide” better. It’s just as brutal as the opening track, but it opens with a synthesizer that sounds like something out of a John Carpenter movie. As things shift into something heavier, the guitars pick up the synthesizer theme in ways that give the song more of a technical death metal quality. I also liked the way the guitars sometimes sounded like the synthesizer. As with the opener, the guitar solo comes in cleanly and naturally. I get the impression these guys like clean solos, the kind that you can think through rather than just watch as it goes by. The most surprising moment on this track is when an organ suddenly breaks through and starts doing things that shouldn’t make sense but somehow do make sense. “Purple Tide” was my favorite track.

The track that most people will talk about is arguably “Profeta Paloma,” another brutal attack that suddenly changes direction. In this case, the song stops, takes a breath, and then shifts into an extended flamenco interlude that was haunting and interesting and cool. Some listeners may find it distracting, but the band pulls it off. I went back and listened to that flamenco section several times to get a sense of how it changes the overall sense of the song. I was wondering if it was just a distraction to get people talking. But as I listened more and more, I found myself thinking that the song just wouldn’t make sense without it. It added some interesting new texture to the song and gave the album a little more richness.

Fans of Doom will probably enjoy “Enter the Mancubus” because it was inspired by that game. It also tells the story of a future society polluted by food, drugs, and the environment. As good as that song was, however, I liked “Le Soupir du Fantome” even more. That song has a soft opening played on the classical guitar. It also has some singing that ties back to the flamenco performance in “Profeta Paloma” in that it is haunting and yearning. When things pick up, they turn angry and aggressive. The drums are especially strong on this track and the twin guitar sound is clean and powerful. Like “Purple Tide,” this song also makes good use of the organ even if it is a bit more subtle here. This was definitely the right song to close out the album.

The album’s other tracks generally live up to the band’s strengths. I didn’t like “Comatose” as much as the other tracks, but I did like “Atlas” and “Zangano” pretty well. I definitely recommend checking out a bigger version of the cover art by Eliran Kantor. His work never disappoints. If you haven’t checked out Cult of Lilith, they are definitely a band to discover.

Track Listing:
1. Cosmic Maelstrom
2. Purple Tide
3. Enter the Mancubus
4. Atlas
5. Comatose
6. Profeta Paloma
7. Zangano
8. Le Soupir du Fantome

Added: December 21st 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 200
Language: english

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