Review: “Fossilized” by Cruentus

Two years on from their well received debut “Night Embrace Me“, Swedish Blackened Thrash duo Cruentus returned to the tried and trusted, entering Deathskull Studio E to record their sophomore album “Fossilized” with engineer Johan “Snoken” Nääs, the pair of multi instrumentalists Martin Öhman (guitar, bass, vocals) and Petter Bocian (drums, vocals) needing no further brains in plotting their evil deeds. This time around however they have chosen the pairing of Tomas Skogsberg (Entombed, Dismember), famed for his work with bands in the legendary Stockholm Death Metal Sound to mix at Sunlight Studios with mastering done by Sverker Widgren (Diabolical) at Wing Studios…

The Swedish Death Metal Machinery sparks into life with the dark and sinister opening instrumental “Ascending” which as an assault on the senses feels like witnessing the awakening of a demon from the black depths and watching it arise to the surface as it prepares for the hunt with a chilling quality. Refined in the fires of hells great furnace, “Fossilized” as an album feels like the duo have taken what they created with “Night Embrace Me” and given themselves a heavier and tighter sound without losing any of the fire and brimstone all out aggression or searing intensity. The cuts flow fast and loose, sounding like a series of one take recordings on reel to reel tape in single room, the performances having a real edge to them as the band rip through the material with a blood lust, “Nihil Ultra” having a really venomous bite. The Black Metal influences rear their ugly head in cuts like “Mot Alltets Slut” extremes push out, somehow managing to combine dark swirling melodies with busts of blast beats and a little dramatic flare. The dry, raspy, throat grating vocals are Evil in its purist form however they can be something of a double edged sword from Cruentus. There are a couple of times when some of the lyrics are lost in the performance, with “The Lost Ones” in particular being one that suffers for the art, however over multiple plays this is something that grows on you and during cuts like the rampaging “Prey“, it’s barely noticeable at all. That is one that does the annoying thing of fading out while the band are still playing when what they are playing sounds really good, however they get away with that here because the dark and sinister “Relentless Scourge” follows up with a captivating low budget horror film aesthetic that is just nasty in the best possible way. Cuts like “Averted Reality” sit neatly between the recent works of US bands like Frozen Soul and Sadistic Force, proving that Cruentus can do atmospherics really well, while at the same time keeping that razor blade close to the throat. The dark, twisted and haunting melodies growing like vines that reach from the ground and consume all that they touch, leaving nothing but broken pieces on the ground. Embracing some Doom Metal influences “Primordial Reprisal” begins a slow trudge through a tar pit to the light of immolation before the blast beats lift it for one final feast from the coffin. Ultimately what “Fossilized” lacks in leads it makes up for with nuance and what you’re left with is something that is instant enough to enjoy while also being rewarding over multiple listens [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Ascending
  2. The Catalyst
  3. Nihil Ultra
  4. Mot Alltets Slut
  5. The Lost Ones
  6. Prey
  7. Relentless Scourge
  8. Averted Reality
  9. Doldrums
  10. Primordial Reprisal

Fossilized” by Cruentus is out 15th July 2022 via Kvlt und Kaos Productions with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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