Album Review

Cruz – “Culto Abismal” – [Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

Terra Incognita   12/11/2022   12-inch, A Library

Culto Abismal is the perfect comfort food for an angst-driven, decrepit soul starving to fill the void: it is thrash handmade in the old-school style, kneaded, knuckled, and blackened, topped with a layer of death metal vocals and swirls of metal guitar leads and black metal melodies.

This album was skillfully crafted by Xavier Carbonell Beltran (“Xavi”; drums, lyrics), Imanol Diaz Baleztema (guitars), Benjamin Quintanilla (“Benja”; guitars), Joao Francisco Rainho (bass), and Xavier Guerrero Calduch (“Javi”; vocals, lyrics) in Barcelona, Spain. It is Cruz’s first LP, released in 2016, four years after the band’s conception.

The lyrics, most written in Castilian (Spanish) by Xavi (drummer), are horror-themed and inspired by Lovecraftian concepts of malevolent entities, parallel dimensions, and, underlying it all, Xavi describes, “the insignificance of humankind in the universe, the extremely limited human understanding and perception of the whole of existence, the realities/forces/entities/etc. that exist outside our perception, and especially the scorn towards the ridiculous sense of vanity of humankind.” Two of the eight tracks, “Culto Abismal” and “Tumbas Ciclópeas,” are directly based on Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu. “Pesanta” is named for the creature of Catalan legend that perches on people’s chests while they sleep, causing sleep paralysis, suffocation, and night terrors. The tracks “A Cops de Destral” [transl. “At the Stroke of an Axe”] and “La Pitjor de les Plagues” [transl. “The Worst of the Plagues”] are written by Javi (vocalist) in Catalan, the mother tongue of three of the five band members.

The cosmic terror within is depicted in the savage artwork of Cesar Valladares, renowned for his dark illustrations for numerous metal album covers. Even if you’re not a fan of vinyl, having the details of Valladares’ nightmare vision displayed on the 12-inch canvas is worthwhile.

Cruz’s Culto Abismal is a frenzied feast to be devoured!

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