REVIEW: Cabal – Purge [EP/2016]


Artist: Cabal 

Album: Purge – EP


When one thinks of a “purge,” they most likely think of a drastic-but-necessary explosion of evil. Whether it’s a dietary purge of sugar and toxins or a pagan-influenced purge of ghastly spirits and negative energy. What if the opposite took place, though? Imagine if a purge was instigated to annihilate all good and positivity in the human spirit—leaving only darkness and evil where there was once light. What would the product look like? We already know exactly what it would sound like—the debut EP by Copenhagen crushers, Cabal. Purge lives up to its name with ease—flooding into the listener’s head like molten tar and expunging all that could be called “good” in their head and heart. Comprehensively heavy, drawing from groovy metalcore, dissonant downtempo and blackened death metal, Purge is a powerful display of gritty, gruesome brutality—so continue forward at your own risk.

Instrumentally, Purge is a bit of a witches cauldron—a crushing concoction of a myriad styles of heavy music. The drumming ranges from snappy, tight footwork and quick fills to enormous, atmospheric segments that segue into spine-shredding breakdowns. Percussionist Nikolaj Kirk is as diverse and fluid as he is talented in this respect—and the listener need look no further than“Purge” to prove it. Opening with a quick, catchy groove that quickly decays into a dissonant, sprawling breakdown, Kirk is as adept at speedy fills as he is with sludgy ethereality. Moments like the quick-paced grooves in “Purge” and “Eternal Night” see Kirk not only serving as the band’s steadily-pumping heart, but also working with bassist MatheSørensen to ensure that Cabal’s foundation is low and thick as well as fluid. Sørensen can be heard again on “Purge,” rumbling in tandem with Kirk before the track dives into its final, furious series of breakdowns. Atop Kirk and Sørensen, guitarists Arsalam Sahki and Chris Kreutzfeldt cover everything from progressive, djenty grooves to atmospheric, depressive leads—covering everything Kirk plays in an acrid coat of pitch-dark blackening. “Cursed” is, without a doubt, the best example—with the lead in “Legion” coming in second—of the duo’s infusion of eerie black metal into every Chug and riff they write. Sahki and Kreutzfeldt are diverse and masterful, combining intelligent songwriting with uncompromising brutality effortlessly.

Cabal’s vocal component is just as responsive and ruthless as their instrumental backdrop—with frontman Andreas Paarup hitting lows along the lines of Bodysnatcher’s Kyle Medina, as well as screeching highs that highlight even more distinct black metal influence. Paarup is able to keep perfect pace with Cabal’s groovier bits—like those in “Cursed”—while still holding his own with ferocious mosh calls and one-liners on “Legion” and “Purge.” Furthermore, Paarup knows when to stay silent—leaving some portions of Purge absent of vocals entirely, letting the musicians do the figurative “talking.” Paarup’s voice is one part unique, one part intelligible and one part enormously varied, giving him a huge head up on many other new bands’ vocalists. Tracks like “Eternal Night,” that change pace and style constantly, still see Paarup keeping up without even struggling, adding gritty, grisly heaviness with every syllable he screams.

In five tracks, Cabal take the listener on a whirlwind journey of wicked aggression and skull-splitting brutality. With portions of cavernous, arid ambience and segments of skin-splitting speed and technicality joined together by all manner of grooves and breakdowns, Purge is a unique listening experience that will satisfy the thirsts of diehard downtempo deathcore fanatics and lovers of bouncy, brash metal as well. From the first seconds of “Innocent Blood,” the listener can feel Cabal slowly beginning to infiltrate their head, initiating a purge that will sweep their entire psyche of positivity. Cabal are a crushing, cruel force to be feared—as their bold style of brutality will leave no survivors.



For Fans Of: Lorna Shore, Oceano, Black Tongue, Bodysnatcher, Genocide District

By: Connor Welsh