[sic] Magazine

The Cult Of Dom Keller – Ascend!

Having realised the excoriating live takes from last album Paradiso Is On Fire were more faithful to their true sound, Nottingham band The Cult Of Dom Keller‘s fourth studio album Ascend! says goodbye to the more polished sound of Goodbye To The Light, arguably that of The Second Bardo too, and as such out too go the safe retreats of Goth-rock riffs, most of those sharp post-punk angles, as well as their fascination with Primary Colours-era Horrors. In their place, Ascend! dials everything up to eleven and blows the bloody doors off – a simple formula made even simpler as the album is also largely instrumental too, brief howls and moans when they do come emanating from the depths of some hellish hole.

Entrance music for tinnitus-ravaged deviants, we first encounter a four-minute wall of ‘gazy distortion that acts like a smoke screen for the grinding proto-punk, wanton feedback and kosmiche flashbacks that follows, the hard psych of epic racket “Hello Hanging Rope” varying its tempo to end in a cymbal-smashing cacophony. Spacey interludes cleanse the palate periodically, TCODK jamming through blown cones and wah abuse to decorate marauding fuzz, “The Blood Donor Wants His Blood Back” freak-out like being strapped onto the launch pad of some far-flung NASA mission with the rockets burning – its white-hot follow-up turning on the blasters and burrowing face first into the bedrock, the destructive bass laying depth charges as it goes. A relative oasis of calm, the closer then delivers organ drones, hypnotic oscillations and precise percussive repeats, orbiting all that gone before as if caught in a locked groove. A departure sure, but an exhilarating one.

Best track: “We’re All Fucked (Up)”

~Ascend! will be released 17th Jan 2020 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records.~