Shroud Of Despondency – Cull (2018)

Cull focuses more on black metal, though contains the obvious bells and whistles that Shroud have been known for and keeps the experience unique.

“Instincts Of Falling Stars” is pretty straight-forward, but “Brother Born With Broken Bones” rolls into disco black metal which culminates in blackened thrash. That tops off with a speedy guitar solo and further exemplifies the kind of out of the box thinking that Shroud are known for. “Poisoned Soil” throws some death metal elements into the mix, along with an even crazier solo than before. There’s even a small touch of prog at the end.

Both parts of Cull are strictly rooted in black metal, but also feature screaming solos. There’s also an emphasis on thrash to be had here, which works in the band’s favor and actually reminds me a little bit of proto-black metal, like Venom and Bathory. This album feels like eighties black metal shaking hands with nineties black metal and that works pretty well in retrospect. Obviously, riff melodies are a large focus here and that’s something that I feel should be a larger focus in most bands these days. But if you’ve seen LouderSound’s Spotify totals, you see what people are listening to these days and I can assure you that aside from the greats, (Queen is in the top spot) the same stuff that the radio has forced upon rock and metal listeners for years is still just as popular as it was before, even now that people have a choice.

As for the rest of the album, “Caving Grounds” and closer “I, Beast Of Prey” certainly continue the onslaught. Sure, the disc is a bit raw; but I don’t think that people will complain all that much, especially considering the amount of effort that has gone into designing these structures. The result is a killer black metal album with notable touches that take it a step above several of the black metal clones I find on a daily basis.

Purchase (Bandcamp)

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