Black Shroud – Death Culture

Black Shroud is a blackened death metal band from Northwest Ohio who just recently released their debut full length, Death Culture. The main theme of this album is how humans have disposed of their dead throughout different cultures. The band describes themselves as blue collar American rogue black metal. I did not know what this was going to sound like. Anything American and blue collar makes me think groove/southern metal like Pantera meets Zakk Wylde; and in this instant that would have been mixed with black metal. I was instantly mortified. However, I decided to give the album a chance because I am not above admitting I am wrong….and thankfully I was terribly wrong!

This album could be more of an EP rather than a full length being that it is roughly twenty-eight and a half minutes long. The one thing that struck me right off the top was that this release does not fit very snugly into the blackened death metal box. There is some death doom thrown into the mix as well. The music, as a whole, is a mix of death and black metal; with a bit more emphasis on the black metal when it comes to the riffing and song structure. The vocals are a lower more guttural death metal growl. The album opener, “Tower of Silence,” shows exactly what this band is made of. You can hear all of their influences in one song. The song blasts in places and in some places it slows down to more of a blackened doom sound. Not what one would expect to come out of the cornfields of Ohio.

The rest of the album is just as strong as the opener. “Immolation of Souls” is a more death metal sounding track but, once again, they have this knack of throwing you a curve by slowing it down then building it back up again. The time changes and the changes in the riffs make this a really interesting listen. On the other band, “Melified Man” is mostly black metal in it’s structure but mixes the death metal riffs into the mix at just the right time. “Endocannibal” is the most black metal song on the album and the album closer. The riffs are plentiful create an almost epic black metal atmosphere. The vocals never waiver from their guttural death growl. This is probably my favorite song on the album due to the atmosphere it creates.

I have to admit that this album caught me completely by surprise. My preconceived notions were shattered by quality songwriting and killer execution. The band is correct when they say there are no gimmicks and no bullshit. Instead they let their music do the talking, and I am liking what it’s saying. I’ll be watching this band closely to see where they go next.