However, applying this to music does not lead to the same results, so to give life to genres like old school death metal requires good songwriting and some new twists. When listening to Cult Burial from London this becomes quite clear. The duo from the UK definitely knows its share of classics to inspire, from Motörhead (the speed) and Priest (the dueling guitar lines) but also some other things like Bathory (the punkish black metal screams) or even Sabbath (the dragging doom elements).
Interestingly, this difference in influences is also noticeable in the arrangement of the songs – the beginning of the band’s self-titled full-length (after three EPs on Bandcamp earlier this year, with not all songs being featured on this release) is more of an exercise in OSDM, straightforward, gritty, loud, with lots of growls and less screams. “Dethroner” is a good example of modern Death Metal embodying the traditions of speedy Death Metal with dueling guitars and a precise slow-down moment to give vocalist Cesar Moreira a chance to rest his vocal chords.
The second track “Moribund” (“destined to die”) and its intro is proof for the other side of Cult Burial’s songwriting skills. The intro is very doomy and moody and then again with the guitars even showing a bit of post-metal layering. This is also something that gives the nine tracks the twist they need in order to surprise the listener enough. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see if they can take this element a bit further because sometimes Cult Burial are a bit too “old school” and not enough “new school”. They should dare more things like “Moribund” or “Plague” which purvey a strong feeling of letting go of a traditional formula, formulating their own version of extreme music. The latter is something sets bands like Gaerea, White Ward or Cult Leader. More of the doomy parts shown in the second half might catapult Cult Burial into that league, because they surely have some good things going for themselves.
Cult Burial shows that OSDM is alive but maybe not kicking enough to stir a lot of attention outside the scene. They have something to say musically with lots of interesting details – hell, they even got a classic heavy metal solo in “Kill”. Of course, such a solo is a good sign of thorough knowledge of the but trying to incorporate old shapes into new mirrors. Keeping the genre and its traditions alive and vibrant.