Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Teufelsbücher (2019) REVIEW

A curable poison, an intentional abuse of the flesh by way of distilled tonic, chugged and vomited with intent to traverse the cosmos and unlock the nine-sealed gate in the house of shrieking heavenly mistresses– They beset like a trampled thicket carpeted with fungi, a thousand-fanged, hundred-headed, two winged hall of disorder bloodied and weakening in the peaceful cradle of the stars far beyond the reach of the common man’s destruction. Stumbling with blue-lipped and blurry-eyed wonder at the feral key, horrible beyond conception but just within reach, as every tracer of suffocation and stomachal ache pangs at once, lifting the veil as if its mask shattered unto a single inescapable horror. The fear blackens the edges of the sight, two venoms seep in; One of the psyche and the other a violence sprinting within the corporeal– It becomes clear as the light fades: They who harness the shadow and cross from world to world cannot remain among living in order to sow the seeds death and madness within others. How then has Santiago, Chile death metal quartet Unaussprechlichen Kulten remained a conduit and head of diabolic cosmic ceremony for these last two decades? The answer most certainly lies in these ancient books of the devil, das ‘Teufelsbücher’ written in the sixteenth century to unveil the vices of men and satirize the foul realities of feigned society at large. This fifth full-length from the band is a step into the third circle of their own Hell, another station of mastery for one of Chile’s most uniquely ruinous death metal acts.

It’d probably been about ten years of knowing about Unaussprechlichen Kulten before I’d been able to spell their name correctly not only due to incompetence but because it’d been somewhat difficult to get a non-bootleg copy of their early records in North America until Dark Descent Records and Iron Bonehead Productions began pushing their music into the light. Reissues of their fantastic back-catalog beyond the release of their paradigm-shifting EP ‘Lucifer Poseidon Cthulhu’ in 2013 would relight the black flame of the previously very obscure, and brutal Lovecraft/ancient evil themed band. That isn’t to say that the trio hadn’t yet found their voice in dissonance on their first few albums, in fact ‘Wake Up in the Night of Walpurgis’ (2005) was certainly as inspirationally melodic and dissonant as their modern works but still entrenched in a brutal style of death metal akin to a crossing of early 2000’s Krisiun with ‘Unholy Cult’-era Immolation. When the six year gap between full-lengths lifted in 2014 with ‘Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath’ the project had found a way to concentrate their unique aspects into short but wildly tangled pieces that’d become their signature sound ever since. This was iterated upon and arguably perfected on ‘Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X)’ (2017) and now masterfully achieved on this follow-up ‘Teufelsbücher’ here in 2019.

The idea of greater focus and concentration becomes key to elucidating the change observable between this new work and its similar (at face value) 2017 cousin. The production values are darker but not unfathomably deep, allowing just enough room for both guitars to create sonic collapse but, not enough space to suggest an ‘atmospheric death’ album. Placed up front and ringing up towards the outside corner of the eyes the guitar riffs are now multifarious streams that extend in and out of deeper-still polyrhythmic junctions that create the need for extending the song lengths to nearly double. The level of intricacy rivals that of Undersave‘s full-length from last year but not without continuing from the point of evolution that ‘Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X)’ provided. These are technical but savage musical statements that rant in a verbose and terrifying manner, not mere incantation of ominous portents but psychotic chants on high that’d create cathedralesque grandeur out of sulphur-scorched soil and roaring dissonance. It makes sense to consider the dissonant implications of bands like Portal and Mitochondrion within a similar lineage but these pieces are strung together as if they were in the hands of later ‘progressive’-minded The Chasm rather than any such avant-dissonant post-brutal death underpinning. Tremolo dives, gravel-coughing vocals, and a fairly ‘stripped down’ sound design ensure Unaussprechlichen Kulten appear as ancient as their themes without being buried by the overzealous and brutality-attuned mixing that’d stymied some of their 2000’s releases.

So, it’d be easy to say “this sounds like the last album” and that would be fair to the point of ‘sounds like’ but not when it comes to these extended and vastly maturing arrangements. My own personal threshold for dissonance, atonality, and brutality is at least an inch higher than the general death metal adoring public thanks to an obsession with avant-black, noise rock, and various other clangorous fuckery so no doubt many will find ‘Teufelsbücher’ abrasive and jarring before they’ve gotten pulled into the flow of things. The first couple of listens, much like ‘Keziah Lilith Medea (Chapter X)’, caused a literal headache although, upon returning to the album the next day, certain neurons that’d receive Unaussprechlichen Kulten‘s beatings had been toughened, leathered, devirginized. Extended and often seemingly random melodic arrangements are decipherable with some familiarity and I’d say this fact alone will extend the life of ‘Teufelsbücher’ within most record collections more than any work previous. So far that extended-release interest due to unraveling depth is the greatest point of recommendation for the full listen beyond; It is ultimately iteration of a fantastically developed sound/modus and although I appreciate this addition to their unique discography I’m curious to see if they have a deeper well to pull from, or a darker place to explore beyond it. Very high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest “The Evil Out of Control” is entirely successful at introducing what the band are all about and “Flapping Membraneous Wings” shows how much they’ve grown since the prior record.

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Artist Unaussprechlichen Kulten
Type Album
Released October 18, 2019
BUY & LISTEN on Iron Bonehead Productions’ Bandcamp [10/18]

PREVIEW “Cranquiluria” on SoundCloud

Follow Unaussprechlichen Kulten
Genre Death Metal,
Technical Death Metal

Una gran daga grotesca. 4.25/5.0

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