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Apocalyptic Blues

Cult of Youth…Cult of Youth Review

When one thinks of Neo-Folk, the dirgey melancholia of Nature and Organisation and Current 93 are the first bands to come to mind.  With a sound somewhere between The Pogues and Death in June, Cult of Youth have breathed new life into a genre that often runs the risk of sounding overwrought and too plaintive for the thematic content.  On their self titled LP out now on Sacred Bones Records, Cult of Youth have hit their stride both lyrically and acoustically.  Produced by Chris Coady and mixed by Kevin McMahon, Sean Ragon and crew have crafted a moody, powerful, work that slinks from ominous folk to enraged punk.  Lyrically, these songs are rife with occultism, invocations, and mysterious references all focusing on the search for meaning and truth in this world.  It’s powerful stuff, no doubt enhanced by Ragon’s range.  Whether it’s the chant-like baritone vocals on “The Pole-Star”, or the punk rock howling of “Lace Up Your Boots”, Ragon’s passion for the genre burns through.   The clear vision with which this band operates is readily apparent in their mixing of various folk styles; Tropicalia to Americana to English to Middle Eastern; all these forms merge into an occult fever-dream.  Post-punk bass leads dissolve into violin complemented by Glenn Maryanski’s drumming; a martial, stomping style which gets the blood going.  Nothing is overpowering; instead the complex interplay allows for some intriguing experimentation throughout.

Opening with “New West”,  we see the advantage of Ragon recording with a full band.  Martial drumming, driving bass, and a delicate violin line give way to Ragon’s apocalyptic rally cry’s.  From the singalong folk-stomp of “Monsters” to the unhinged screaming that closes out “Casting Thorns” Cult of Youth’s ability to mix folk music with a darker, occult punk energy is inspiring.  Cult of Youth’s debut album as a full band is immensely promising, particularly for a genre that has had very few notable American artists.  Mythic invocations of godslayers and cursebearers, this is music that speaks to that epic spark in all of us.  Join the cult.

Check out a sample after the jump.

[audio:|titles=01 – cult of youth – new west]
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