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Zebulon Kosted - "The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko" (CD)

Zebulon Kosted - "The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko" CD cover image

"The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko" track listing:

1. The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko (49:29)

Reviewed by on September 6, 2013

"This full-length offering harkens to a very old-school sound that will well please those who feel black metal has no business sounding crisp and clean."

Going back to his black metal roots, solo artist Zebulon Kosted dredges through the lo-fi and ambient depths of the genre on “The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.” This full-length offering harkens to a very old-school sound that will well please those who feel black metal has no business sounding crisp and clean. Not content to stick with just one style, the near 50-minute single track comprising the album also touches on the project’s other musical outings into experimental noise territory.

A single massive track is a tricky undertaking, and it’s something Zebulon Kosted has attempted before. This time around, the gambit pays off handsomely, however, as all the various segments flow together smoothly. The track feels like one coherent unit, rather than a collection of shorter songs mashed together just to have a huge single-song album. That unit consists of a mid-paced black metal sound interspersed with a variety of melodic and atmospheric segments that really hit the nail on the head, getting the fuzzy ethereal guitar tone down. The fact that the bass guitar is frequently a strong component is an unexpected pleasure, showcasing that bands can do the iconic fuzzy sound without completely giving up the low end.

Besides the expected harsh rasping screams, there are some interesting yells and shouts going on that echo in from the background. While not precisely a punk or hardcore style vocal delivery, it does add another dimension beyond standard black metal that further adds to the feel of an earlier time in the genre. Towards the middle of the “Corrupt Dictator…” journey, chanted vocals also make an appearance, droning on to lull the audience into a trance. For a final change of pace, the screams become incredibly hoarse, tortured, and high pitched by the 34-minute mark, creating a weirdness on par with Germ or Abruptum.

Being an underground band that completely eschews the trappings of anything remotely mainstream, it should be expected that some of the experimental sounds are incredibly abrasive, and may not work for all listeners. The overuse of repetitive blasting drums does drag a bit by the time the track hits the 18-minute milestone, and the 21–29 minute range is an extended segment that repeats the same drum beat, scream, and guitar note combination for longer than is necessary. It might appeal to fans of drone or funeral doom, but otherwise there’s about six to seven minutes that can safely be skipped. Other than those few possible turn offs, “The Corrupt Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko” deserves to be given a serious chance by anyone who digs bands like Woe that do the lo-fi sound proper justice.

Highs: Fuzzy, old-school black metal that doesn't give up the bass tones.

Lows: A section of droning repetition drags the album down.

Bottom line: Lo-fi black metal gets mixed with ambient and experimental tones for a unique experience.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)