Review Summary: Cult Leader eschew conventions with “A Patient Man,” yielding an album of two halves and one spirit.A Patient Man
is the last opportunity to talk about Gaza--that’s it, it’s done. The shadow of Cult Leader’s former band/moniker looms over them no longer. What they have managed to do in their two-album run is create an identity that is wholly their own by producing some of the most hard-hitting and infectious heavy music out there. Gaza are officially dead. Long live Gaza.
Cult Leader’s sophomore record A Patient Man
is one hell of a heavy slice of music. The metalcore/sludge/death concoction is just as effective as ever, with a near-constant barrage of the grimiest and murkiest work put to tape this year. But with “To: Achlys,” “A World of Joy,” and the title track, Cult Leader have taken risks by working with a near strictly melodic palette a la “Cruel Bloom” from Converge’s Axe to Fall
. Each is haunting in its simplicity and shows a band willing to step outside its “plug-and-chug” formula. The thick and smoky atmosphere the band employes works well alongside the aural assaults of songs like “Craft of Mourning” and “Share My Pain,” especially when the two styles meet in the very effective “A World of Joy.” Typically when heavy bands turn out tunes likes those that make up half of A Patient Man
, the word “maturation” gets thrown around, as if heavy music cannot be inherently mature. Cult Leader throw those sentiments out the window. Some of the album’s most revelatory moments are those found in the most oppressive sonic torrents. Cult Leader expertly give their songs depth while still making them feel unrelenting.
A Patient Man
iis a heavy album recorded in God City Studios. Unfortunately that speaks volumes because its production is nigh indistinguishable from dozens upon dozens of other records. It’s clean and polished in ways few others could manage, but any sort of soul has been spread very thin. Most would never care but it’s worth noting for those who suffer from Kurt Ballou fatigue. Yet small personal issues do not detract from what is otherwise a refreshingly refined record of two halves--one earthy and melodic, the other dark and oppressive. While the jarring distinctions do not always work, when everything comes together perfectly there’s nothing else like it this year.