CULT LEADER HAVE BEEN BLASTING PEOPLE’S EARS WITH HYPERAGGRESSIVE CHAOTIC HARDCORE since the demise of their former band Gaza five years ago, but now they’ve flipped the script and dug deep into the dark brooding epics they experimented with on previous releases.
Fans of the band got a glimpse of their clean epics alongside vicious bangers on their first few releases, but on their sophomore record,
A Patient Man, they fully embrace this side of themselves.
“It’s something we’ve been exploring since our second release,” vocalist Anthony Lucero explains. “I think it took more of a finished form on this record; it’s something we’ve always flirted with, I just think this is the first time that it has ever fully formed.”
Although Lucero delivers a grotesque demonic growl when the band are tearing through blast beats and razor-sharp riffs, he stands out the most when using his low, clean voice. The singer comes across more confident in his capabilities on the new album, but says he’ll likely never be fully comfortable with his performance.
“I don’t spend a lot of time questioning if I am capable of pulling something off anymore, which was a big part of the earlier releases,” says Lucero. “I always want to stay pretty far outside of my comfort zone, and try a whole bunch of shit that I’m not totally positive about being able to pull off, but at least within the confines of what we’ve done, I know that I’ve been able to accomplish the things that I’ve had in my head.”
In the same fashion as their debut, the band recorded with legendary producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studio. Although Ballou and the members of Cult Leader are friends, Lucero says the admiration they have for Ballou’s work pushes them to create the best material they can.
“At this point, it’s really just going in and doing what we do and trusting his opinion and his capability. A big part of it is you don’t want to go in and look stupid to someone like Kurt. You want to go in and be as prepared as you can possibly be and give it everything you’ve got.”
Whether it’s due to the bands they associate with, their legacy carrying over from Gaza, or simply their raw energy and skills, Cult Leader are one of the most impressive rising metal bands around. Despite the attention they’re getting, though, the band are compulsively driven to make music and would do it no matter what.
“We would have made this record if no one listened to it, ever. It’s fantastic and surprising and it helps validate what we do to a certain degree, but it doesn’t drive us,” says Lucero. “First and foremost, we do this so we can get whatever it is inside of us out. Doing it as a group has a special power for us.”
“I always want to stay pretty far outside of my comfort zone and try shit I’m not positive about.”