Rotterdam, Netherlands-based supergroup The Dead Cult has release their debut EP The Cataclyst on PRSPCT records. This looks to be one of very few if not the only album on this label which has such strong punk and metal influences. While they are a supergroup, they do not represent just one scene. They are a hybrid of punk, metal, drum and bass, and hardcore techno -- a genre which has its roots in Rotterdam. From the punk side of things, their drummer Lemmy is a veteran of grindcore act Sick of Stupidity and guitarist Harm is a veteran of Modern Life is War. Gareth aka Thrasher is a major drum and bass DJ who runs PRSPCT records, but with The Dead Cult he is on guitar and vocals. Ukrainian-born DJ Limewax takes over all electronics in this project.
The true essence of this band is encapsulated on track two. It's a cover of “Peace or Annihilation” by Crucifix, an early 80s American anarchopunk band. The six-minute cover of the 90-second original dissolves hardcore punk inspiration into hardcore techno breakbeats and electronic bliss. Their cover ominously repeats the lyrics: “From dehumanization, to arms production/ For the benefit of the nation, or its destruction/ It's your choice: peace or annihilation.” The sentiment under these provocative lyrics was especially significant coming from Crucifix. Their vocalist was Sothira Pheng, a Cambodian who fled the murderous Khmer Rouge regime which was aiming for ethnic cleansing, and claimed the lives of up to two million people. The lyrics are still powerful and relevant today. I didn’t realize this was a cover at first because these lyrics fit in perfectly with other antiestablishment themes on the EP. The closing track, “DongRaIsACunt/Fuck the Borders” denounces man-made walls, laws, policies and prisons, and it seems like it should be required listening at this point in history, which is posed to repeat itself as we have more refugees in the world today than ever before. It is refreshing to hear a band from Rotterdam -- a city that Nazis bombed to depletion before murdering the majority of its Jews –- screaming sentiments (fuck the borders!) that I and many Americans have had troubling us since November 2016, only to worsen.
Politics aside, this entire EP perfectly blends dark punk and metal influences with creepy electronics and amen breaks. Hardcore vocals in fist-pump fashion speed through saturated synths wrapped in feedback and murky metal riffs. That is, until the electronics-less last track which is pure grindy hardcore punk.
8.0 / 10
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