Alberta-based grinders Culled embrace all things grimy on their debut full-length, Thin the Herd, Fail to Learn.
Much like fellow Canadian forward-thinkers WAKE and Fuck the Facts, Culled embrace grindcore’s lineage while pushing beyond the genre’s typical tropes. The quartet infuse their interpretation of grindcore with jarring discordance and elements of caustic sludge; a sound that is then fully fleshed out by intricate songwriting that demands more showtime than the genre typically lends its songs. Couple these unyielding stretches of chaotic instrumentation with relevant sociopolitical lyrical themes and listeners have quite the physical and cerebral beating in store for them.
The continuously shape-shifting “Divide to Conquer” opens up the record with an undeniably heavy, lurching riff that paves the way for the onslaught to come. The song then unleashes a head-spinning array of squealing dissonance and gut-wrenching, palm-muted riffs with furious drumming pummeling beneath it all. The angular grindcore mayhem transitions into galloping beatdowns and further into death metal supremacy, all of which lead into a lengthy procession of towering sludge that stomps seismically until the end.
“Such Benevolent Filth” comes crashing in shortly after with more straightforward grindcore assault, full of hellacious bursts of face-ripping riffs, thunderous beatdowns, and plenty of hyperkinetic drumming. A similar approach is employed in the album’s fourth track, “Scorn”, albeit with much more emphasis on gritty hardcore groove. “False Sense of Supremacy”, in contrast, is more align with “Divide to Conquer” in that it takes on many forms before concluding. From galloping angularity, to lurching dissonant doom, to dreary atmospherics and skull-caving sludge, “False Sense of Supremacy” keeps listeners on their toes throughout its head-spinning duration.
The album concludes with the nine-minute epic “Contagion”. The track opens with massive sludge riff that sounds like if Sleep obsessively studied Napalm Death‘s Harmony Corruption. The track then becomes a back-and-forth struggle between these huge, crushing riffs and eviscerating death metal instrumentation before arriving at a groove-laden, almost prog-like midsection filled with wailing leads. A final burst of discordant, face-melting grind comes stampeding out of this slow-burning midsection and brings the album to an explosive close.
Culled‘s Thin the Herd, Fail to Learn is an extremely solid debut recording that points to greater things in the future for these gentlemen.
Release Date: October 26, 2018
Label: Hibernation Release
Favorite Tracks: “Divide to Conquer” and “Contagion”
For Fans Of: Wake, Fuck the Facts, Napalm Death and Maruta