There are always a few bands that seem to completely shake the genre tag applied to them. Probably the most popular examples are bands like System of a Down and Deftones, whose sound is now usually classified (for simplicity’s sake) under “alternative metal” because of the influence from so many genres into one cohesive sound. Others, like Mr. Bungle, or Naked City, use so many genres in such a short space that they seem to defy all classification; its as if they make a mosaic of the various fragments of sounds that interest them.
And then there are some bands that make that whole gray area of definition become even more indeterminate; bands like Cvlt of Grace. Signed to Poland’s Unquiet Records (who have a bit of a reputation for experimentation in metal), Cvlt of Grace has hardcore running through their music, but there’s quite literally so much else going on that definitions become meaningless, and words fail to accurately describe what’s going on after a bit. Like I said, there are hardcore strains throughout all of this; when listening to the beginning of their latest EP Tears, there’s a distinct blackened hardcore sound—the vocalist Zoli is about one step away from completely shrieking like a beefy-sounding Nocturno Culto, and the tremolo riffs are aplenty (especially in “To Hell (Land of Ignorance)” and “Stones and Knives” which almost become pure black metal at points).
It would be so easy to end it right here and just say this is blackened hardcore, but it’s not accurate. The opening track, “From Hell (Land of Anxiety)” and deep cut “Dogfaced Children” add a sort of post-metal vibe to a more distinctly hardcore sound: groovy, slow-paced drums, and a sort of determinedness in the songs’ millieu that, actually, reminds me of what Converge did on their latest album All We Love We Leave Behind. But this is all being nit-picky, by listening through this EP a few times and dissecting certain parts of these tracks in an critical vacuum. All in all, Cvlt of Grace puts this sound together very cohesively, and therein is the paradox: it is hardcore/crust/what-have-you, but at the same time it’s so much more. What do you call it then?
Personally, I find myself shrugging, and just calling it “music,” and leaving it at that. I’m all up for genre-tags, but one should never analysis that cloud what’s truly important, and that is to listen and enjoy it aurally. Cvlt of Grace is a find that you will (most likely) be hard-pressed to find again in the same capacity, so check it out!