Wintercult is a depressive black metal solo act from Russia. Just to clear up any possible misunderstandings, the fact that depressive black metal is my favorite kind of music doesn’t mean I set low standards for the genre’s artists. Depressive black metal actually has more shitty artists than most other genres out there; the ones having the most being grindcore/goregrind/pornogrind, American folk, and country. Wintercult is definitely one of the best depressive black metal bands I’ve heard in quite some time, which made sifting through plenty of other depressive black metal bands on this one website worth it. Want to know why? Please read on.
Probably the main reason why there are so many depressive black metal (DBM) artists out there that are absolutely repulsive to me is because the vocals are atrocious. There don’t seem to be very many good black metal vocalists at all in general! Well, this Russian nature-worshipper has a vocal style that I’ve only heard from one of my favorite artists of all-time: Malefic, the sole member of Xasthur. There have been plenty of other DBM vocalists that sound similar to Xasthur’s vocals, but none are closer to that sound than Wintercult. The way his vocals sound is EXTREMELY difficult to put into words…but it’s not that really croaky sound you hear from bands like Immortal, older Darkthrone, and Drowning the Light. It’s more of a REALLY filthy vocal fry scream that’s been heavily distorted. That’s probably the best description I can come up with at the moment. But the nice thing is that the vocals don’t overpower the rest of the music, so they have a much less chance of becoming irritating over time.
Usually, when a DBM “band” has only one member doing all of the instruments (guitars, vocals, drums, etc.), it’s not that uncommon for there to be an issue with all the instruments being in synch with each other. I don’t know exactly why, but there seems to be a recurring problem with the drums repeatedly falling in an out of time and the guitars being in a different world. But with Wintercult, the music can be easily mistaken for a full band because of how tight all the instruments are. It’s actually a HUGE refresher to hear DBM of this much clarity because it’s hard to listen to such crappy music come from a genre you have such a strong passion and love for. So to sum that up, everything is on time and in synch; just what I wanted to hear.
Traditional depressive black metal tends to be played at a much slower tempo. The first song off of this Wintercult album starts out with just the guitar playing a traditionally slow line to then have the drums come in and almost double the pace, but still keeping that extremely depressive mood that I love to hear (therefore giving the genre its name). Most of the sound that Wintercult has during this album is made up of traditional DBM guitar lines with faster (and sometimes driving) drum tempos to bring a unique and memorable sound. The other side that Wintercult has is more of an extremely atmospheric sound by using huge chords that remind me of Lost Inside’s 2011 album Mourning Wept Beside Me and Genevieve by Velvet Cacoon (no that is not a typo).
From what this record has given me, there aren’t any flaws at all that I can see. Although it is completely understandable how this album might not speak out positively to people not as familiar with the depressive black metal genre, it will eventually be considered a classic to the genre’s name because the majority feedback of this album has been accurately positive. I would give this album a perfect score and would recommend it to all depressive black metal fans as well as fans of really ambient and melodic music.