Cist – The Frozen Casket (2018) REVIEW

The history of death metal is a corpse so heavily molested and defiled that many modern death metal bands barely need to tickle it’s desiccated husk for the sake of aesthetic familiarity rubbing off on their sound. The sheer similitude of worship-acts is enough to trigger that Pavlovian conditioning in fans who are rabid worldwide for more music born from the exalted intensification of extreme metal influences within thrash metal in the second half of the 80’s. There exists a major divide between pandering retro releases and genuine case study that both invoke ‘old school death metal’ hysterics, the line is only hard to draw if you don’t actually listen to 80’s and early 90’s death metal. Cist’s music is at once an immediate rush of exacting authentic emulation and sincere variation that reeks of dedicated earnest interest in death metal’s rawest, most inspired era.

To point directly to Death‘s ‘Leprosy’ upon hearing “Antisceptic” is pure laziness as Cist more closely resembles the Schuldiner/Tardy tonal mixture that was early Morgoth along with riffs that jump straight out of early Pestilence wheelhouse. ‘Leprosy’ doesn’t sound exactly how you remember it, the drum sound is incredibly distinct and few Death influenced bands incorporate it, including Cist.  Going even further down the ‘Consuming Impulse’ wormhole is “Incubation” which shreds between “Chronic Infection”-esque riffs and some heavier grooves akin to ‘Slowly We Rot’ era Obituary. The gist of what Cist does over the course of the EP’s five songs is deftly insert themselves into that death/thrash space of ~1989 where American and European thrash musicians took great inspiration from Death and Morbid Angel alike without losing their grip on their thrash notes. This puts Cist’s vision on par with bands like Protector and Massacra as each stuffed their thrasher riff-fists deeper into death metal’s brutality in 1991.

The trouble with a concept so focused on emulating such specific death metal sound is that there are already hundreds of bands that sound like this to choose from. For their Pestilence structured riffs and early Death inspired sound they aren’t pushing the old school kick anywhere new or interesting. To lump Cist in with bands like Gruesome and Morfin is a shame when there are bands like Skeletal Remains, Tomb Mold and Horrendous taking authentic old school sounds to new or at least highly polished places. Besides these guys love brutal thrash like Demolition Hammer, Solstice and Devastation as much as I do, so amping up those influences (like Greek band Rapture has) would be a lot more interesting than joining the sea of Death-alikes out there. But hey, whatever I’m just some idiot. Fact is that this stuff rips and bleeds authentic old school death metal blood all over the place. If you have a soft spot for this style then Cist is an important up and comer to check out.

NOTE: If you’ve already heard this stuff and loved it, the cassette release will include two exclusive Live bonus tracks from ’15. 


Artist Cist
Type EP
Released January 22, 2018 [CD] March 16, 2018 [Cassette]
BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp! Follow Cist on Facebook

Resistant organic forms. 4.0/5.0


<strong>Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:</strong>

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.