Cthuluminati – Reliqideus (2019)

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I read that the inspiration for the name “Cthuluminati” was that of modern conspiracy theories, mythology and Lovecraftian themes. This really piqued my interest. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? So, I went straight to the band. Throughout this article, the answers come from Devi Hisgen, whose weapons of choice are his vocals and a guitar or two.

Noise Pollution: I read that “Cthuluminati” in part refers to modern conspiracy theories and mythology. Do you have any favourite modern conspiracy theories?

Devi Hisgen: haha, most of them are wonderfull. Some of these big conspiracy theorists should be si-fi authors. Dudes like David Icke has a very creative fantasy haha. I don’t think one of us prefers one specific conspiracy, but the Illuminati and reptilians are kind of our biggest inspiration. But personally I love flat earthers the most.

This album has been released independently. Why would you trust a mega multinational corporation that along with releasing music is probably also responsible for chemtrails in the sky and the faked moon landing? Devi was happy to dispel any myths.

Noise Pollution: I applaud you for releasing your work independently. What was behind this decision?

Devi Hisgen: Thank you. We don’t feel the need to commit to a label in this phase. We can handle the production, marketing, distribution and bookings perfectly ourselves. If there is a label that would fit into our nefarious plan, we would have something to consider though.

The 6 tracks on “Reliqideus” weigh in at 50 minutes, with each one of varied durations.

“Illumni Fhtagn” cracks forth with the sounds of rain and thunder, sprinkled with ominous growling effects from the depths. It is backed by a slippery, shifting riff and the instruments meander up and down the scales with insidious intent. Guitar solos appear from nowhere and at times the sound is that of echoing urgency. Chtuluminati have introduced us to their brand of music – constantly shifting and morphing, never allowing you to get too comfortable. This track has no lyrics… or, does it? I could swear that I could hear something, just below the surface, encouraging me to rise up against my oppressors. Plus, I need to buy ice cream. Pounding drums make an appearance and before you know it, an intense amalgam of sound has developed. This caught me unawares.

“El Lizard Birth” slithers forth with an ominous liquid sound and sentient breathing. Bent guitar notes peal like bells and the sound is somewhat cracked in nature. Machine gun-like guitars ring forth, with a melodic guitar woven in to create an intricate texture. The vocals are strong and gravelled and are almost a surprise when they appear – I had been wondering if this was going to be an instrumental album. The complex sound is continually shifting and at one stage the instruments sounded like angry robots. The vocals range from anthemic to urgent and the sound often becomes dischordant.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto! This album has a life all of its own, with the different sound drawing me in, wondering what was going to issue forth next. I wondered how it was achieved.

My dog ran in with a note in his mouth. It said:

Devi Hisgen: With surgical precision. Also it’s funny that we hear this a lot about Reliqideus, while we can’t wait till we can show you our next release. This concept of different sounds and different styles molten together will stay one of the few constants in the musical output of Cthuluminati and should evolve continuously.”

“Svartalfr” thunders forth with a pumping bass line, accompanied by clean guitar. The sound is again a little dissonant. The sound becomes minimal in style, but maximal in impact. On this track, the instruments again reign, with the vocals there to serve. The track builds, swells and morphs into a more complex beast. Pounding drums lurk in the background, as do vocal wails. This track has more iterations that the Brexit deal… Then, it gallops and changes again, with guitars duelling furiously. It smooths out, but then gains in complexity. A very heavy guitar features before the track fades away.

“Supernatural Selection” picks a tribal wail to open it and this is answered by other voices and drums. The percussion takes up the mantle and the guitars accept the challenge presented. The vocals appear early, which is different to the other tracks. Staccato guitars add to the tension, as the instruments use all of the musical palette to add to the landscape. A really clever bass and guitar arrangement follows. As on other tracks, there are elements that sound like other songs from other bands, but these sounds have been meddled with, creating a result that draws you in and challenges you.

At this point I was thinking about what other bands might take from work such as this. The following message appeared on my television:

Devi Hisgen: Having any impact on modern music is not one of our main goals. We mainly propagate for Cthuluminati as a concept and then share the stories from the universe that was created with this concept. but to answer the question: Maybe to be frontiers of dark and psychedelic music, but also making extreme music a little bit more accesible to a wider audience. But mostly we would like to humbly contribute to modern experimentation with dark music.”

“A Thin Line” has a slow start that soon leaps forward with intense guitars. Ghostly effects and rollicking riffs create a divine madness. The vocals have a more sinister treatment.

With such diverse styles utilised and enthusiasm for their craft, I wondered whether there could be some collaborations in the future with other bands.

The following message appeared in the ice in my freezer:

Devi Hisgen: Hard to say. We have a few bands in mind to maybe collaborate with in the future, but also it would be amazing to in what way or another work together with artists from Deathspell Omega, Oranssi Pazuzu or Swans.”

“Umibozu” begins with a clean guitar, but again, there’s something odd in the sound. It’s grating, as the boundaries of music are again obliterated. The track’s personality changes 3:40 in, sounding like a totally different track. It has a metal drive and groove, with percussion coming to the fore. Wailing guitars add to the tale, before this is supplanted by a surprising wall of sound. The sounds of thunder, rain and wind then build, before the volume of them decreases, then fades and we are left with emptiness.

Few artists can push the boundaries so far, without losing all shape and lapsing into an inconsistent miasma of sound.

Many artists have a predictable template to their songs and sound. For Cthuluminati, there seems to be no template and it is this difference that makes this work stand out. In a time of cookie cutter music, this band just bakes whatever the hell it wants, creating strange treats. Listening to it, you are comfortably uncomfortable, making for an engaging listening experience.

When I listen to an album, I often think about where and when I would listen to it. I reckon that I am on to something…. It will play as Area 51 is stormed by the Facebook group that is organising to do so.

At this point, all the lights in the house went off and the following message appeared on my device:

Devi Hisgen: This information is strictly classified and I am not authorised to make any comments on this matter.”

9/10

I have to stop there. There’s a helicopter flying overhead, the dogs are barking and there’s knock at the fro…

Review by Greg Noble

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