Formed in 2012 in Sheffield, UK, and born in the shadow of the brooding Yorkshire […]
April 17, 2019
Kull - Exile album cover

Formed in 2012 in Sheffield, UK, and born in the shadow of the brooding Yorkshire hills, KULL was forged by members of DYSCAPHIA and the Barbarian Metal kings themselves, the mighty BAL-SAGOTH. In fact, it's the exact band of BAL-SAGOTH save for the singer. "Imperial Dawn" sets the stage for this Symphonic Black metal album called "Exile." Warm but imposing brass instruments and steady pounding drums see this song to light. It is ominous but in a very welcoming way. BAL-SAGOTH is one of the most unique bands out there and if this opening track is indicative of what is to come, we are in for a real treat.

"Set Nakt Heh" opens with whispered vile vocals, and some fancy instrumentation. The musicianship is very tight and the accents are hit hard and retreat as quickly as the make their mark. It has that unique quality that I was talking about earlier. "Vow of the Exiled" is a bit lengthier. It opens with foreshadowing keyboards and light Symphonic elements, before bursting aloud with a guitar riff. The vocals are straight up Black Metal but the instrumentation is fantastic...very intricate and this is some high level wizardry. "A Summoning of War" has that Power/Classic Heavy Metal sound with Black Metal vocals that made BAL-SAGOTH as amazing as they were. It ends in a light and pretty piano sequence.

"Hordes Ride" opens with spoken words and leads to a mid-tempo groove. The instrumentation is almost separate from the vocals, though you have to appreciate both. The real meaning of the band lies in how they compose this music...I would love to be a fly on the wall in the studio. "An Ensign Consigned" features guitars that run up and down, with light Symphonic elements in the background, including what sounds like a flute, while the vocals rage with intensity. Some vocal chants come into play along with bombs going off. Talk about a strange set of sounds together in the same salad bowl...but it works!

"Pax Imperialis" is a shorter number with heavily accented guitar notes and this song is on fire for most of the way, until it pauses with spoken word and some light lead guitar notes, and then it's back to the energetic sound through the end. "By Lucifers Crown" opens with staccato guitar notes and more of the spoken words. Symphonic elements come dancing in and create this vast soundscape where the underworld opens before you, one plane at a time. There is a lot going on in this song but the technical elements are noteworthy. "Of Stone and Tears" opens with some heavy and aggressive riffing and drumming. The cadence is hypnotizing while the Symphonic elements play like kids in the sandbox without a worry in the world.

"Aeolian Supremacy" opens with haunting female vocal chants and then this wave of euphoria washes over you. The melody is absolutely beautiful and unexpected. Man can this album throw you curve balls. The Symphonic elements support the main sound as this sense of grandeur overcomes you. It pauses near the end, pulsating gently with an ominous sound. "Of Setting Suns and Rising Moons" opens with a heavy marching sound and angry vocals. There is a brief moment of levity but this song is full on chaotic, with blast beat drums and seriously harsh vocal screams.

Overall, I was very impressed with KULL and their album "Exile." I'd be lying if I said they don't sound like BAL-SAGOTH but that is a good thing. Expert musicianship, outstanding songwriting, with their unique craft on full display, and diverse offerings you will find here on this album. How they manage to bring all of these various elements into the music is nothing short of incredible. It's one of the most unique albums that I have heard this year so far.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"Exile" Track-listing:

1. Imperial Dawn
2. Set Nakt Heh
3. Vow of the Exiled
4. A Summoning to War
5. Hoards Ride
6. An Ensign Consigned
7. Pax Imperialis
8. By Lucifers Crown
9. Of Stone and Tears
10. Aeolian Supremacy
11. Of Setting Suns and Rising Moons

Kull Lineup:

Tarkan Alp - Vocals
Chris Maudling - Guitars
Jonny Maudling - Keyboards/Synths
Alistair MacLatchy - Bass
Paul "Wak" Jackson - Drums

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