Cult Leader
Lightless Walk


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dante Alighieri USER (88 Reviews)
October 20th, 2015 | 158 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pummeling maelstrom of darkness.

Cult Leader - Lightless Walk

Holy shit. Very rarely nowadays do bands elicit such a reaction from fans of heavy music, but if the opening seconds to Lightless Walk don't strike you deep then there's really no use proceeding into the rest of the album. Immediately nosediving into hellacious depths before being assaulted by feedback-laced blast beats, opening track "Great I Am" stands as a one minute statement and warning for the listener: this album is going to be absolute fucking mayhem.

From then on we're treated to an absolute smorgasbord of nearly every extreme genre there is available. Pummeling breakdowns litter tracks like "The Sorrower" and "Suffer Louder", noise worshiping interludes like "Hate Offering", grinding cyclones like "Broken Blades" and "Walking Wastelands", Lightless Walk succeeds because of its variety. Nearly every track starts off one way and ends in another. If being judged by the simple fact that this is a debut album to a group barely a couple years old, this might be one of the most impressive albums to date. However, this is misleading: the majority of the members of Cult Leader have been closely creating music together for nearly a decade... Their natural chemistry as a group is no accident and comes as a result of years of playing together, in one incarnation or another.

Kurt Ballou has been a renowned producer in the scene for years and, when used appropriately, can become a very formidable weapon. Cult Leader successfully realized this and, in doing so, made Lightless Walk one of the most monolithic debut albums in recent memory. Tracks like "Gutter Gods" show the close symmetry that guitar Mike Mason and bassist Sam Richards share, while drummer Casey Hasen continues his remarkable journey of one-upping his percussive performances on every release he's been a part of over the past decade. While some might accuse Ballou's production style as a bit excessive and/or loud, those critiques fall on (literal) deaf ears as excessive and loud are exactly what Lightless Walk intends to be.

Wedged in between the ferocity of the album, Cult Leader throw a couple curveballs at the listener by introducing longer, drawn out tracks in the middle and end of the album. "A Good Life" and the eponymously titled final track "Lightless Walk" wouldn't be out of place as a soundtrack to a Cormac McCarthy novel; with vocalist Anthony Lucero adopting a Nick Cave-esque monotone drone over heavily restrained strumming in the background. While Lucero does an adequate job in this case, the rest of the group can tend to sound somewhat lost-- this is not too surprising, given the sonic mayhem that dominates the majority of Lightless Walk and, at times, Lucero's intonations sound drowned out by the heavily down tuned guitars.

At its heart, Lightless Walk is a swirling void of destruction. A howling black hole of chaos, devouring any sense of hope. Unrelenting in its rage and clothed in dreariness, Cult Leader explode into the limelight with one of the more impressive debut albums in recent heavy music. While some elements hit harder than others, Lightless Walk showcases the true depths of how all-encompassing modern metal has become. Not so much an album but a statement: Cult Leader are officially here. Watch the fuck out.



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user ratings (237)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
October 19th 2015


9410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Review is dedicated to Abuse of Reason Art & Photography, whose photos of Cult Leader's album release show (as well as the album itself) inspired this review.



https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.906346149418763.1073741864.264540600265991&type=3



Thanks.

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djunior
October 19th 2015


882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

o hey you're alive







album is sick etc etc

ComeToDaddy
October 20th 2015


1485 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like, it sort of sounds like every other Ballou-produced hardcore act all mashed together, but god damn I'm a sucker for this. Nice review man, easy pos.

NoSons
October 20th 2015


137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Might be one of my favorite heavy albums of the year.

FearThyEvil
October 20th 2015


15127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album! Really feels like Gaza again which is a great thing. The eps just really did not impress me at all.

Beardog
October 20th 2015


1436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is damn heavy

osmark86
October 20th 2015


5363 Comments


ooo some more ex-gaza music. will have to check this out. thought the previous effort was fairly inoffensive though.

Sniff
October 20th 2015


3643 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yup last effort was a huge waste of time. Despite being 10 minutes long. Hope this will be better

osmark86
October 20th 2015


5363 Comments


this packs a punch. might have to give it a few more listens though.

apert
October 20th 2015


3236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2 tracks in and its instantly better than the ep, actually packs a punch like gaza used to

torts
October 20th 2015


4300 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

good shot good shit this lays the FUCK out

alienobserver
October 20th 2015


3664 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

sounds like every other Ballou-produced hardcore act all mashed together[2]

TomAkaVeto
October 20th 2015


1932 Comments


Damn. This is way better than anticipated. This might be the best heavy album of the year.

MotokoKusanagi
October 20th 2015


905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a lot more engaging than their EPs



very nice overall, still miss Gaza though

MotokoKusanagi
October 20th 2015


905 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also, the mark kozelek rec lol

jmh886
October 20th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hits hard as shieeet

botb
October 20th 2015


10978 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heaviest record I've heard this year for sure

loveisamixtape
October 20th 2015


7312 Comments


it's aight

jmh886
October 20th 2015


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ballou's production discography is absolutely stellar.

wacknizzle
October 20th 2015


14507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ballou killed it on this album, it pummels so hard. Only thing that brings this album down for me are some of the softer sections, just don't do much for me. The softer parts were better on No Absolutes, and on Driftwood... well Gaza in general.

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