Country: USA
Title: Strange Customs
Label: Godz ov War
Year: 2021
Style: Death Metal

Initially released on cassette format by Transylvanian Tapes in October 2020, this debut EP by San Jose, California based duo Cult Graves sees now the CD treatment by Godz ov War, with the band's debut demo, Demo '18 as a bonus, so in total we get 9 tracks in a bit over 35 minutes of playing time, almost like an album I'd say. Actually there's not much difference between the two releases, maybe the EP is a bit more clearer, but still ugly and sinister sounding like I guess the band intends to offer all their releases. Also maybe the demo has a bit more chaotic compositions, while the EP brings in a bit more groove and headbanging moments to the table. The level of brutality is high throughout the whole CD, yet the band balances their compositions between fast and demented passages and some that are slower in tempo but more obscure sounding, with plenty of rhythm changes and breaks to keep things interesting. This is ugly, sickening, barbaric old-school Death Metal with serious Black Metal influences here and there, and what I like most about it, while not being exceptionally technical or original, the duo manages to build and offer a very visceral, horrifying, expressive atmosphere that will convince the listeners these guys know what and how to achieve their target sounds, it's only problems would be there are way too many such bands out there nowadays, if they won't find a way to keep interest high they might just get lost, and also maybe there's too much repetitive riffing in their compositions, might get dull after a while. No need to add this is 100% organic sounding, absolutely perfect for old-school Death Metal releases, especially on tape, while I always prefer it on CD, but that's just a personal taste. Try it out!
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7.5/10