Cult Cinema, a band from London, UK, released their debut EP “Iscariot” in August of 2011 on Siege Of Amida Records. They’re definitely a test of listener rigidity when it comes to crossover genres. Embracing depressive black metal and hardcore inspiration, this band may be doomed to a lifetime of cult like followers but hey, who says cult genres aren’t successful in their own right anyway.
Their intro track “Akeldama”, in reference to the land Iscariot acquired with the 30 pieces of silver he betrayed Jesus for and fell upon, spilling his guts, commences with depressive black metal tones. Vocalist Ivan Ferreira breaks in with viciously dark, hardcore vocals about half way in but is nothing more than a tease with a track that’s only a minute and a half long.
Followed by “The Beloved Disciple” and “Tormentor”, these tracks are pretty gorgeous mixes of metalcore breakdowns, ambient technical guitar undertones and even a hint of mathcore styling. I can sense the pubescent males at their live sets getting supercharged with their crisp lyrics of betrayal, rejection, isolation, violence; pumped up on elevated levels of testosterone and adrenaline while hitting the breaks with some gorilla style and picking up change.
The stand out track was without a doubt, “A Distant and Disconsolate Heart”. It had enough instrumental variation from the rest of the album to make it easily recognizable after even one listen. Vocals on this track are not that varied from the rest of the album but the repetitiveness and strength of Ferreira’s voice adds to its catchiness.
“The Betrayer (Tomb of The Brave)” was in tough contention for top track but as it when on, there were little issues I picked up on that I couldn’t shake. The track begins with an ambient guitar intro, split right down the middle by a hammer of intensely throbbing riffs till 2:25. Then the track seems to pause for a little too long, followed in discordance by a post-metal instrumental section, which is quite beautiful in its own right but could have easily been an interlude or a separate track all together.
There’s about a 30 second piece near the end (or at least what I though was the end initially) where the metalcore and post-metal sounds jive together in total bliss and I really wish they had followed this sort of sound throughout the entire track without the break. Perhaps being a younger band, Cult Cinema just need more experience in how to effectively use a crescendo. The organ sample that seemed to be merely tacked on to the end of this track did absolutely nothing for it either and felt as though the band hadn’t been thoughtfully in their composition to incorporate it seamlessly.
There is one observation I just have to shine light on, since it has left me scratching my head. It’s unfortunate, that this album, which is entirely named off of biblical reference, was not the only one in 2011 to pull from this narrative. The use of Judas Iscariot by pop icon Lady Gaga as inspiration in the same almost seems to take away from the darker depiction of betrayal Cult Cinema was going for. On the other hand, for a woman who’s touted for her originality, and being so out there, the coincidence of these two acts drawing from the same source should take a little O2 out from under her fire, if it were ever to be recognized. Alas, she still gets the fame over far more talented musicians and I’m once again frustrated by the trajectory of popular music.
Cult Cinema is definitely more for the hardcore kids looking for something a little darker. In my opinion, they don’t quite bridge the gap far enough to bring many black metal die-hards onboard but I respect the bands audacity to blend black metal and hardcore in any case. Metalheads and metalcore fans have enough senseless beef as is, so I have total admiration for Cult Cinema, using the sounds that inspired them to blend into a medley of controversial music; anything to bring together the eclectics of both scenes.