TextbookThe world we live in today is an amazing place. Take Culted, for instance. Their vocalist, from Sweden, has never met the other band members, from Canada, in person. I can imagine that type of situation could result in artificial-sounding music, but that is certainly not the case here.
In fact, the sound of Oblique To All Paths is about as organic as it gets. It’s raw and dirty black/doom. Black/doom can mean a few different things, but in this case it’s mostly doom metal with a blackened guitar tone and raspy vocals, with the occasional tremolo picking. Culted also use atmospheric noise of the kind you typically hear from atmospheric black metal. The sound is very awesome, and isn’t the kind of thing you hear from three dozen other bands every day.
Getting the sound right isn’t the only area where Culted excel. This record is a study of dynamics. Although it lasts an hour, and several songs are quite long, regular changes to riffs, textures, sounds, and tempos keep it interesting at all times.
Sadly, it’s lacking any extra “something” to really make me stand up and take notice. The riffs are good, not great. The atmosphere is admirably dark and intriguing, but isn’t overwhelming. There isn’t a killer song that keeps me coming back. They understand every aspect of how to make a record, but the inspiration isn’t there.
Ultimately, Oblique is a textbook example of how to make a good metal record without being generic. But nobody learned greatness from a textbook.
The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars