Hailing from the Land Down Under (Australia, not Hell), Bloodlust is a two-man side project of the bassist (Specter, a.k.a. James Campbell) and drummer (Disaster, a.k.a. Louis Rando) from the black metal act Mhorgl.
Bloodlust kicks open the gate with the high-tempo track Apocalyptic War Command. Filled with classic thrash hooks with some punk breakdowns, you’re pretty sure what to expect from Cultus Diaboli — a dirty, powerful album of high-speed evil.
Sworn Servant of the Devil opens with a quote from The Satanic Rites of Dracula and is one of the longer tracks on the album. The length affords several time changes, including some eerie tremolo in the middle of the song.
Nearly half the length of its predecessor, Black Blood of Satan opens with a driving drum rhythm, and has a classic galloping thrash sound which carries through the fourth and fifth tracks, Rex Inferni in Terra (The Antichrist Enthroned) and Crowned in Black Fire.
Spell of the Raven Witch is the longest track on the album, weighing in at 6:14. Opening with a traditional thrash rhythm, the song slows down to almost a doom pace during the verses with an underlying bass groove before building intensity at the chorus. The song appears to end somewhere in the middle, but its just a brief respite before returning to the doom/thrash mix. It’s probably the most adventurous track on the album and is a nice change of pace.
We covered Disaster’s solo project, The Furor, over on The Sons of Metal Podcast, and while the drumming is intense, he doesn’t go quite as crazy with the blast beats and insane time changes as he did on that record. Meanwhile, Specter performs double duty on both the guitars and bass. Although the latter is a bit muted under the low-fi production, it does get to shine on the aforementioned Crowned in Black Fire and Spell of the Raven Witch. The guitar work is perfectly suited to thrash metal. The driving riffs and short solos hold your attention without dragging on too long.
Cultus Diaboli showcases the talent and experience of its members and is an excellent choice for fans of blackened thrash. While I’m not the biggest fan of the production, it should appeal to those out there who prefer a more "kvlt" experience. That minor quibble aside, fans of early Venom and Bathory should find a lot to like here, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least give it a listen.
Special thanks to Iron, Blood & Death Corporation for the complementary review copy.