Three years after the impressive debut ‘Lightless Walk’, Utah’s Cult Leader have returned with ‘A Patient Man’, a record that sees the group surpass themselves in every aspect. A muscular and at times tender version of their debut, it travels through bleak introspections at a breakneck pace.
Crashing drums signal the beginning of ‘I Am Healed’ before angular guitars combat the guttural roars of Anthony Lucero. As drawn out screams decay, blast beats drag you towards lingering chords and clattering cymbals.
As the group peel away the noise to reveal delicate melodies, Lucero pulls you back into chaos with the engulfing scream of “Heal me”. The bridge sees bassist Sam Richards fight against the irregular riffing of Mike Mason before allowing the building intensity to take over.
As the album progresses along unrelenting tempos and throat shredding vocals, Cult Leader ensure that the heavy aspects of the record don’t become monotonous. This is shown in tracks such as ‘Share My Pain’, with cycling riffs jumping between the back and forth screaming matches Lucero has with himself.
The halfway point of the record sees the group touch upon concepts first founded on previous release, ‘A Good Life’. Taking a step back from the aural assault that the record encompasses, ‘To: Achlys’ and ‘A World Of Joy’ both showcase clean melodies and low vocal croons to convey their message.
The aforementioned ‘To: Achlys’ opens with finger-picked guitar melodies, slowly twisting towards Lucero‘s baritone croon which takes you on a fearless journey. Simplistic in its composition, the track doesn’t falter, using the vocal lullaby to draw you in and rising percussive intensity to keep you there before exploding with a hypnotic coda.
Closing the record is ‘The Broken Right Hand Of God’, a track that not only brings the sonic experimentation full circle, but makes you want to play the record again.
Using distorted finger-picking and space between the notes, Mason allows the verse to be dominated by furious drums accenting the growls of Lucero. As the track builds towards its climax, the group touches upon black metal territory before the chant of “We must walk on” brings the group back to its roots.
Taking unapologetic risks, Cult Leader prove that they’re a worthy addition to the Deathwish, Inc. label, and an absolute force to be reckoned with.