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Zebulon Kosted - "You Have No Race You Have No Culture" (CD)

Zebulon Kosted - "You Have No Race You Have No Culture" CD cover image

"You Have No Race You Have No Culture" track listing:

1. Intro 02:19
2. Stripping, Burning, Crushing 04:33
3. With the Best of Intentions 05:10
4. Brought to Us by Slavery 06:21
5. That False God 09:43
6. Progress 06:16
7. Nightmares Become Reality 05:09
8. You Have No Race You Have No Culture 04:55
9. Outro 08:22

Reviewed by on June 15, 2017

"Bravo ZK – this is your best one so far."

A prolific figure in the underground scene, Zebulon Kosted can be relied on to get out at least one (and frequently more than one) release per year. Here in 2017 we've got the timely “You Have No Race You Have No Culture,” which is easily the most polished Zebulon Kosted outing I've heard so far. Still rooted in lo-fi black metal, the album experiments with several different styles, skipping across sub-genres between songs.

The simply titled “Intro” track showcases how something old can be made new again, or twisted entirely to a different form it was never intended to be. It took me a couple of listens to realize the voice over segment repeatedly asking “How am I not myself?” is from the hilarious existential crisis in the comedy flick I Heart Huckabees – but here its used for a creepy black metal intro song that makes you question who you are and why you exist.

The album features a solid mix of old school, kvlt black metal with more modern sensibilities and other wide ranging genre influences. “Stripping, Burning, Crushing” for instance uses a melodic and energetic guitar riff behind '90s black metal. “With The Best Of Intentions” has a fabulous slow motion, atmospheric intro and utilizes wobbly, spacey sounds in the background for a psychedelic doom feel. The vocals go a more guttural – but legible – route on that song than on other tracks, furthering the death/doom feel.

Asynchronous strumming coming out of each side of the speakers keeps the audience on its toes in “Brought To Us By Slavery,” playing the same riff at slightly different timing. For another twist, the vocals twist into tortured shrieks echoing out of the background that bring to mind more avant-garde groups like Vintage Flesh.

Somehow “That False God” features nine minutes of drumming on a metal garbage can lid – and it works. Its a very odd song, with long voice over and movie clip segments, remaining mostly on the atmospheric side. It sort of becomes a hallucinatory experience over the 9 minute length, drawing you into the ambiance. While not a “metal” song by any means – until the growling scream at the very end leading into the next track anyway – it is still an oddly effective one.

The only experimental outing here that doesn't work as well is the ending track “Outro,” which takes a long time to get through the racist movie monologue before finally arriving at the counter punch that pushes back at that sort of ideology. The song then ends on a bizarre note with crazed hellish laughter for several minutes.

From the classic Ancient or Hecate Enthroned feel of “Nightmare Becomes Reality” to the brutality-meets-melody of “Progress,” each song has a different overall vibe. There's a balance struck between fast and slow across the album, with tempo changes and a certain degree of complexity, while still keeping the overall experience very old school. Bravo ZK – this is your best one so far.

Highs: Old school, lo-fi black metal meets a whole lot of other sounds for a crazy experience

Lows: There's a lot of movie clip voice overs here

Bottom line: Zebulon Kosted arrives with a timely experiment in metal sounds that will keep you on your toes!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)