Dwelling in San Jose, CA, Cult Graves is a duo not to be fucked with. Drawing in inspiration from Black Metal acts such as Spain’s Proclamation & Canada’s Blasphemy, they also hone in elements from the Florida Death Metal scene from Possessed, Morbid Angel and ESPECIALLY Deicide. Active since 2018, they’ve put out a 4 track EP called “Strange Customs”, and upon writing this review, these tracks will be 1-4 of their upcoming full length, with the same title as this EP.
Cover art by Dayan Gazime of Dipygus, black and white depiction of weird demonic ritual gone awry with a horned figure literally taking shape by stacks of skulls from beneath, beastly form hovers over its fearful recipient.
Starting with “Abomination Rites”, starts with brief audio sample with little dialogue I couldn’t catch what movie/show it could be from, bit choppy and rough on drum production, almost all blends together for first half then dissipates to riff that breaks down more of a tolerable tempo to grasp and realize there’s more going on than intended. Vocals sustain a brutish, immoral cadence which is a pleasant surprise, and only a brief second on “Strange Customs” you catch a brisk high pitch, putting me at ease & appreciate this group more for it.
“Necrophidius” has a unique name that I personally like how it flows off the tongue, and of course had to look up where it came from; it’s a Dungeons & Dragons reference of a “death worm” resembling a skeletal snake like body with a head of a human skull. Their structure starts more whirlwind Black Metal guitar work, feeling unsteady, the change up of tempo occurs halfway point, more groove/Death Metal present, this mark I think of the haunting, dark outro from Obituary’s “Turned Inside Out”, AC’s riffs leave a lasting impression notable on this tune. Early Deicide influence (between their self title & “Legion”) is evident on “Strange Customs” and “Cruor Upheaval”, transitioning into Death Metal composition solely.
Lookout for this EP. (Tori Belle)