Now in their twelfth year of existence, Germany’s Ctulu are set to release their new self-titled full length on November 18th via MDD Records. I’ve yet to tire of bands that incorporate elements of Lovecraft into their music, and Ctulu is another whose imagery ties into various Lovecraft tales. While their previous three full lengths skewed heavily towards black metal, this new self-titled effort branches out significantly and blurs the line between genres, which explains the “extreme metal” tag on the band’s social media pages. Today we’re excited to bring you an exclusive stream of the song Treibjagd, which showcases how much the group has evolved from their earlier days.
That’s not to say that Ctulu has entirely abandoned their black metal roots, as some of that abrasive tonality and structure is still present on Treibjagd. But from the very beginning you can hear a definite black/thrash slant, and there’s even a little bit of melodic death metal leaning to the tonality before the song comes to an end. It’s the type of metal that blends a little bit of everything, and while that can sometimes fall apart when the songwriting isn’t strong enough Ctulu has pulled off this transition perfectly. Not only are the production values rock solid, offering enough clarity for the melodies to come through clearly without sacrificing intensity, but the playing is air tight and there is no hints of sloppiness to the performance. What stands out to me as I listen to this song is the way that the instrumentals can perfectly balance that blistering black/thrash that will have you headbanging all over the place and the black/death metal leaning melodies that give off an icy chill. Some of the other tracks on the album slow things down considerably and head in drastically different directions, but this is one of the best examples of Ctulu at their fastest and most intense.
With the slightly cleaner production values, the vocals come through right at the front of the mix and immediately grab your attention. The band’s lead singer has a raspier scream that is able to move between lower and higher registers, and there are backing ranges that fill out the sound further during some key moments. These particular moments are some of my favorite on Treibjagd, as the combination of the lead and backing vocals come blaring out your speakers with room filling intensity and this makes a big difference. Ctulu’s abrasive, raspy screams are sure to feel familiar, but they do it well and nail that level of energy that gives the material that extra burst it needs.
In the three years that passed between ‘Seelenspiegelsplitter’ and this self-titled effort, it’s clear that Ctulu has pushed themselves into new territory and moved beyond their simpler black metal origins. Where Treibjagd represents the faster black/thrash side of the album, it’s just a small taste of all the different elements the band touches upon across each of the eight songs. If you like what you hear, it won’t be long until you can pick up the full album as it releases November 18th via MDD Records.