Kult of Taurus are a Greek five-piece who released their debut full-length, Divination Labyrinths, late last year via the always-reliable Forever Plagued Records. While their home country has an incredibly rich black metal tradition, the band largely eschews the tried ‘n’ true genre tropes in favor of a more dynamic, somewhat experimental approach that’s much closer to latter-day Deathspell Omega than to say, Rotting Christ. Indeed, the quintet’s debut album is a breath of fresh air, but it seems to have flown under most listeners’ metal radars.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about Divination Labyrinths is the guitar-work. Guitarists Bile and Sythanagon pile on riff after riff, ranging from old-school tremolo picking to bouts of discordant, dissonant insanity, making for a listen chock-full of surprising twists and turns. You never know quite where Kult of Taurus are going to go next on any given track, but somehow it all flows together perfectly thanks largely to this six-string sorcery. Indeed, the guitars are the album’s dizzying focal point, grabbing hold of the listener and taking him/her deep into the uh, labyrinthine confines of songs such as “Channeling End” and “Tree of Gifts Pt. 1 – Void.”
The album possesses a crisp, clear production scheme, with just enough separation between instruments to allow one to hear exactly what each musician is doing, and Sarpedon’s harsh, throaty vocals sit in the mix perfectly without overwhelming the music. Kult of Taurus also incorporate some electronic/synth elements throughout Divination Labyrinths, at times infusing the recording with an atmosphere more reminiscent of industrial music than the typical symphonic black metal keyboard-work. This makes for a unique contrast with the gritty, serpentine riffing and schizophrenic drums.
Overall, Divination Labyrinths is an excellent debut album and essential listening for fans of black metal that’s slightly left-of-center. Kult of Taurus is a band with worlds of potential if this recording is anything to go by, and the best part might just be that it’s next to impossible to discern where they’ll take things next. If you didn’t hear this one last year, get on it, ASAP.