Cultus Profano bring hellfire, furious but melodic black metal on vicious ‘Accursed Possession’

It’s time to burn the old ways, the actions that have caused people to be enslaved by an ideology thousands of years old that has done nothing but hurt people as of late, meaning the last couple thousand years. That’s not to say people’s faiths are always poisonous, because not everyone is that way. But we need to peel back religious influence on the way society operates.

LA-based duo Cultus Profano aren’t necessarily here to free the world of the chains that bind, but if they can send a sacrilegious jolt through modern society, it seems they’re totally up to it. Their second record “Accursed Possession” is here to burn the structures that have become ingrained in people’s lives and smear blood and chaos over the norms. This seven-track, 47-minute crusher pays homage to the seeds of black metal, but it also infuses great doses of melody and atmosphere into their structure to create what the band—vocalist/guitarist Strzyga, drummer/vocalist Advorsus—built into their foundation. This is a striking, deadly record, and it may take a few listens before the claws truly sink into your flesh.

“Cursed in Sin, Op. 25” starts with bells ringing and pastoral-style chants as the song cuts open, exposing its guts. Melody rushes amid the horrifying shrieks as the playing splatters with disgust, and the snarls pierce as the track hammers away, blazing to a huge end. “Devoted to the Black Horns, Op. 16” is dark and foreboding, the vocals drilling into your chest as the shrieks later echo with rage. The track smashes into horrifying swirls as ugly chaos rushes hard, and a flurry erupts that causes the music to forcefully rush over you. Everything bleeds as the vocals mash, the playing races, and an echo chamber swallows this whole. “Upon a Tomb of Sacrilege, Op. 24” has guitars burning and the track tearing out veins as the pace goes nuts and blisters the senses. Shrieks peel flesh as savage fires collect, letting the guitars ring out and stab your ears, while the drums re-engage the chaos that bleeds into a thick fog.

“Towards the Temple of Darkened Fates, Op. 19” pummels as it starts with the shrieks raining down like razors, and the track smashing into a sudden silence. Out of that comes a slow-driving march that crushes bones while the drums open up slaughter, and the playing merges into the center before crumbling into a cavern. “Within a Coven of Shadows, Op. 21” punches your heart as raspy growls arrive, and strong melodies mix with a feral atmosphere. The track penetrates and rushes you, with the growls sprawling, and the guitars bathing in acid. Steam rises as the track hits the gas pedal with the cries returning into a blood-splashed horror that dissolves into hell. “Tenebris Venit, Op. 23” is humid and calculated as it creeps along, with the vocals poking wounds and warm guitars beginning to lap. The playing lights up and gushes with atmosphere, ending up in the center of a wind vortex. “Crown of Hellfire, Op. 11” closes the album with the violent gallop, sending speed and decimation. Melodies boil amid the lurching growls while the guitars send off tornadic winds, the shrieks crush, and the track ends in a relentless pit of hell.

This unholy duo Cultus Profano continue to ply their deadly mission on “Accursed Possession,” a record that’s utterly relentless, though it trades off ferocity with an alluring sense of melody. Their sacrilegious wares dig deep into you and expose you to the darken elements in the universe that will crawl all over you. Perhaps that’s a trip you need after all, because channeling those shadows can be advantageous when you really need them.

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