Cult of Lilith

Holy Smokes! I was fortunate to review Cult of Lilith’s debut EP Arkanum back in around 2015. Back then Cult of Lilith was still trying to find their sound and were a bit more tech-death oriented. Fast forward to 2020 and we have their first debut full-length album Mara. Hailing from Rejavik Iceland there are no shortages of technical death metal elements, as they describe themselves “Neoclassical Mechanical Baroque”.

Cult of Lilith offer a refreshing change from “Neo-classical” style technical death metal as the album is so much more all over the place style wise. Mara is a testament to the maturation of the group’s sound and wastes zero time getting the listener hooked right away with “Cosmic Maelstrom” with a fun harpsichord intro before being slayed by the amazing riffing of group found Daniel Hannesson and lead guitarist Kristen Juliuson. It almost sounds like a cross between Necrophagist and Black Dahlia Murder.

“Purple Tide” is the other focus track that has a pretty cool video that they shot for it. This one opens up with a cool synth part into awesome rhythmic guitar hooks underneath and almost has an “As the Place Burns” Lamb of God vibe. Vocalist Mario Avalos adds a unique depth to overall arrangements with his vocal depth which continues to grow throughout the album. Juliusson has an awesome solo that has a Fredrik Thoredendal Meshuggah vibe. It should also be noted right away that Dave Otero did the mixing and mastering of this and I am pretty blown away each time I have listened to this. It is in its own category and hope great things happen for these unique musicians. “Enter the Mancubus” is one of the more melodic tunes on the album. Harmonies all over the place.   The fretboard attack through Mara is without fear of hand injury as there is such a plethora of technique put on throughout the album. One of the last riffs on this track reminds me a bit of Psycroptic.

“Atlas” is my favorite track on the album. For some reason, it reminds me of “Floods” by Pantera. Really cool clean instrumental start with more gorgeous vocals from Mr. Avalos. The verse of this track is awesome in the way they combine and also Nevermore like phrase that is very chuggy like a Soreption or Decapitated. The bass work of Samuel Bovardson really shines on this one. Again, there are some cool Meshuggah undertones going on. “Comatose” is another insanely catchy tune that has a lot of going on and once again highlights Cult of Lilith’s ability to mix melody, rhythmic approach and multiple styles. The drum work of Kjartan Hardarson is on point throughout the whole album and the transition this tune going into the outro is pretty unique. “Profeta Paloma” is one of the few songs on the album that was not written by Daniel Hanneson. That being said it is still within the same songwriting approach as most of the album until the track gets later towards the end. I will leave it at that. It is a challenge to you to buy this. This is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. There really isn’t anything else like it.

“Zangano” is another example of the Necrophagist influence. Fretboard gymnastics! Man, I am so looking forward to where Cult of Lilith go from this release. I hope they get to tour the United States as soon as Covid is over because these guys are a group that deserves the world’s attention for their unique approach to subgenre that can be so difficult to stand out in. Props to everyone involved in make things one of the most intricate metal albums of 2020.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
October 2nd, 2020


  1. Commented by: Erik T

    This is really good, Nailed Soreption and Meshuggah sound, maybe with a touch of Fleshgod Apocalypse

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