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Sometimes nothing is in a name. I recall a time in which I confusedly checked out Belgian goth/neofolk troupe Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat simply due to the ridiculousness of their name. Ten years later? I still listen to them regularly. Maybe a bit of a "shocker" of a name choice, something which catches eyes and offends mothers (yes, I know it has to do with witchcraft), but I would have never guessed such catchy, memorable music.

With a name like Deathcult, especially with an impending album titled Cult of the Goat, I'm certain there are some wrinkled noses and images of be-gauntleted warriors making their sloppiest tributes to Blasphemy and Conqueror. It's hard to not expect that, and it's unfortunate to come to the recent realization that goats, once a standard addition to any black metal album, are suddenly so niche and a sign of incoherent blasting to come.

Rest assured, these Norwegians solely play, and have probably perfected the art of, black metal. There are some people who kind of sneer at the idea of "earlier" sounding black metal, passing the assumption that the genre is built upon harsh musical conservatism and minimal riff worship. Not necessarily the case, and Deathcult's newest effort echoes the complexity and creativity of these earlier works. There is an expected, enraged stomp which drives this eight and a half minute album opener, but its simplicity pushes the song through a very subtle evolution.

The aforementioned "straightforward" nature found within Deathcult, and especially with "Climax of the Unclean," follows a much more songwriter-friendly approach. The trio of Skagg, Thurzur, and Hoest are all practiced musicians, and it shows here. They take their time, and let ideas fully evolve. More minimal riffs might reappear with a catchy melody, or the rhythm section's groove could fully change. Most black metal, as much as I might like it, feels as stagnant as the black and white imagery which adorns its albums. The stark red found on Deathcult's Cult of the Goat speaks of its vibrance and energy. It's all about momentum, not necessarily putting one riff after another nor using a single idea as a crescending center of repetition, and Deathcult never really stops moving.

Cult of the Goat will be released on Soulseller Records on December 15th. If you feel like looking past their name, album opener "Climax of the Unclean" is streaming below.

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