Kultika
The Strange Innerdweller

Following their self titled LP in 2009, The Strange Innerdweller is Romanian post-metal Kultika‘s debut album, and despite being a decent effort, it doesn’t really grab you by the balls as much as you’d want it to.

Unlike fellow countrymen Negura Bunget, who create music that isn’t just unique but that also pays tribute to their Eastern European origins, it is sad to see Kultika producing a body of work that is far too Isis-worshipping for its own good. The first opener, “Rising from the Sea”, is undoubtedly enjoyable and well written, but there is no envelope-pushing whatsoever. The atmospheric passages are sweeping and luscious, the riffage is both technical and savage, but nothing that Mouth of the Architect, Cult of Luna or any band since Neurosis and Isis changed the face of the metal forever in the late 1990’s haven’t already done.

Like the at times excellent blackened thrashers Woe, Kultika shoot themselves in the foot with some of their clean vocals. These first rear their ugly head just short of the halfway point in the aforementioned song. Coupled with the guitar playing at this moment, it is a painful reminder of the worst things about metal ten years ago. We see the other side of the coin soon after, a beautiful, trippy post metal passage, this time with softly delivered vocals, which work a great deal better. At times the longer songs drag without really achieving anything – “Cries of Eiram” is a case in point, feeling laboured under its own underwhelming weight. It’s not bad, but you never really feel that this is a song that you’ll be listening to beyond this month.

You can’t deny that these Romanians know how to write a fairly good song, it’s just it is sorely lacking an edge-of-the-seat factor, something that separates them from the rest of the pack. Reinventing Oceanic half a decade ago might have been more interesting than it is now; it’s time to move on.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
March 25th, 2014

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