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Review: Cult of Lilith – Arkanum

Icelandic death metal trio Cult of Lilith puts forth an EP as their first mark on the metal world. We don’t often hear much from Iceland, but today we focus on this nice little release. Arkanum contains 5 tracks and runs about 18 minutes long. Head to Cult of Lilith’s Facebook and Bandcamp to support them and their endeavors!

I gotta say first that there was a lot of effort and care put into Arkanum. I can tell by how nicely crafted the songs are. Arkanum is littered with funky (not the genre) grooves in all aspects and the cooperation between all instruments makes it come together nicely. Cult of Lilith makes nice use of a piano at times and it really does add to the occult vibe going on. The vocals do as well (especially when layered), but man when the piano chimes in it gets mystic and even makes the song borderline symphonic. “Abaddon” is a good example, being the first track. The piano comes in rather deep into the song so it isn’t enough to consider the whole song a different genre, but for those few seconds it is. “Tomb of Sa’ir” has a really mystical intro for another example.

There are a lot of good riffs and technical bits on Arkanum. Continuing with “Abaddon” real quick, the main riff is accompanied by a few different drum grooves and vocal rhythms. Each time a new light is shone on this main riff and show the different dimensions of the song. It starts and ends on a heavy note. Yes, the whole EP is heavy, but you know what I mean.

One of the best things about Arkanum is how much the drumming determines the affect of a riff. It can make you want to headbang, hit people, or admire the off beat hits. This happens on every track, but “Arkanum” is probably one of the best examples of that. Here the drummer will play blast beats druing tremolo-picked sections and another groove that matches down beats of the riff.

I appreciate the bass on Arkanum. Not only can you hear it, but it also is more involved than a lot of other basslines out there in the metal world. It seems to follow the guitar often, but not all of the time. You can hear the bassist making quick use of the higher strings, which I like. “Night Hag” has a really technical bassline, so bass nerds flock to that.

“Destined Empress” takes a more technical death metal approach to things with its fast and frantic riffing. There’s also a lot of groove on this song, especially the solo and towards the end. Cult of Lilith seems to make bomb endings. “Destined Empress” also kind of reminds me of Immolation for some reason and I think it’s one of the palm-muted riffs. The drums are fast almost the whole time, but appropriate when not playing blast beats.

“Night Hag” is kind of like “Destined Empress” and a The Contortionist song had a baby. It’s just as interesting as it sounds, believe me. “Night Hag” is heavy nonetheless and gives you reason to move around. “Night Hag” has features from each song on Arkanum plus the progressive bits, so if you liked any song on here you should like this.

Arkanum has left a nice impression on me. I found it to be groovy and technical in all the right ways. It was released independently so I encourage you to support Cult of Lilith so they may make more music like this in the future. The only thing I have to say is I wish they used the piano more because it was just used to damn well. Perhaps the next album? Either way Arkanum is nice, give it a try. Any song will do.

Rate: 9.1/10

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