Ultar - Kadath
Temple of Torturous
Post-black metal
6 songs (47' 2")
Release year: 2016
Temple of Torturous
Reviewed by Andy

This year, Siberian post-black metallers Deafknife changed their name to Ultar, keeping their lineup and musical style prety much the same. But in keeping with the new moniker (H.P. Lovecraft fans will recognize Ulthar as a village in his Dream Cycle series), their debut album is based on the works of Lovecraft, with an emphasis on the fantastic and dreamy rather than on the horror parts, despite tracks named after some of the darker beings depicted in Lovecraft's tales. The style's one of upbeat dreaminess and delicate instrumental breaks, but clean vocals are nowhere to be heard.

The mix is smooth, with the black metal screams pushed down under waves of layered sound; even the blastbeats have a wistful quality. Unlike Alcest, which I reviewed last week, there is a vibe of loneliness, rather than comfort, in the middle of all that emotional melody. It's unexpected not to hear dissonance and menace on tracks named after Azathoth and Nyarlathotep, but the cold quality of the lead guitar's overdrive does inject a small amount of much-needed darkness. It's still pretty upbeat though. Azathoth is more introspective, with ringing chords and clean tremolo picking at the edges of the song, until exploding two minutes into guitar blasting done in triple-meter like a waltz. There are ambient breaks in between several of the tracks, composed of more tremolo guitar, done in even more of a nervous style than before, with SFX over the top.

While Xasthur incorporates a lot of the emotion Ultar seems to be trying to go for, the title track is the one with the maximum heaviness and power to it, and feels like the one the band worked on the most. The shoegaze-y bits in previous tracks are nice, but after hearing three of those, Kadath's fast-pounding beat and layered chords are a welcome relief, not to mention that the drumming is more noticable and makes the rhythm changes of the song tighter and more focused. Gleb, the vocalist, puts some higher, sharper screams into this one too, giving it a more raw and (to my ears) authentic sound.

Overall, Kadath is a relatively strong offering that has few obvious weak points. Fans of Alcest will probably be at home with the band's style and quality here.

Bandcamp: https://templeoftorturous.bandcamp.com/album/kadath.

Killing Songs :
Andy quoted 78 / 100
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