I’ve been listening to our advance copy of this little five-song offering from Italy’s Karnak once or twice a week for the past month. Not like clockwork, because the urge strikes me at odd times, but the urge persists.
I had certain expectations about the EP before hearing it. The ghoulish red-and-black cover art by the talented Marco Hasmann (Fleshgod Apocalypse, Vile, Vomit The Soul); the description I saw of the band’s music: Aleister Crowley Death Metal; the references in the accompanying press release to Incantation, Nile, Morbid Angel, and Krisiun; the EP’s name: The Cult of Death — all of those signposts pointed to a certain kind of grisly, heavy-riffed, old-school death metal.
Given my tastes, I had a feeling it would be appealing if done right, but maybe nothing more than a kind of solid musical comfort food — old recipes that might or might not be prepared competently, and nothing more than that. But it turns out that Karnak have created something distinctive and surprising with those old-school ingredients, while maintaining a dominant aura of brutality.