Cult Leader push themselves so far musically that there feels like no choice but bowing before their essence. In this case, the more precise metaphor would no doubt include moshing in their presence – but you get the idea. The band’s second full length A Patient Man roars out this November via Deathwish, thrashing and contorting under the weight of clearly angry and anguished souls.
Dredged From The Depths
That’s where this music comes from, through the noise — the soul. Vocalist Anthony Lucero explains that his band’s writing process sprouts forth as incredibly organic and natural. The musicians working on the project all bring hosts of ideas to the table.
Lucero quips that the seemingly ever present beast of inspiration can emerge somewhere as seemingly mundane as dirty water, observing: “I think that inspiration is a very strange thing. You can pull inspiration from dirty water, or just any songs you hear. You could be inspired by a song that you hate that you want to write something that is opposite of that, or you can be inspired when you hear a song that you love that you want to invoke the feeling you got when you heard the song. It’s really hard to nail inspiration down as anything specific. It’s so broad, and so strange, that I feel like inspiration has to come from every aspect of your life in order to create something that isn’t just a copy of something else.”
From this place of overwhelming, crushing inspiration the band puts their work through the ringer over, and over, and over again. “The most difficult thing we do is throw away almost 99% of what we bring to the table at all times,” Lucero says. “We have a consistent flow of new things happening, but it has to filter through all four of us, and it has to meet the standards that all four of us have at all times, so a lot of it just gets put aside.”
“It’s not that it’s necessarily bad by any stretch of the imagination,” he clarifies. “It’s just that it doesn’t fit at the time. There are parts on this new record from before Lightless Walk was written and this was finally the time and place for them to work on this record.”
You might say that their source as a band simply never dries up. That flow presents a constant sharpening and twisting that manifests itself in the brutal but precise work that Cult Leader put out.
“There’s no reason really to pursue it if you’re not shooting to outdo what you think you’ve done before, ” Lucero observes, although he adds — “You’re never going to be completely satisfied. As soon as something is recorded, you’re going to wish that you did it differently, but I think this is by far closer to what we have always been aiming for as a whole. This record is very satisfying on all fronts.”
Cult Leader’s Personality
Rather than ending trampled beneath the personalities of any one of the band members, there remains no primary songwriter in Cult Leader. The musicians instead remain hellbent on exploring and expressing their identity as a shared group in addition to charting their own individual paths.
“It’s all about feel,” Lucero says. “There’s never really a ‘we want this to sound like’ — anything. It’s just a matter of does this feel like our band or not. We can write a whole bunch of stuff on our own, and then once we’re all together in the same room, then it immediately becomes a butchering process — like well this chunk works, this part doesn’t, this doesn’t feel right, this feels right. It’s the slow building of putting a giant puzzle together, and then the puzzle has to ultimately just end up feeling like us. There’s never like an intention behind it. It’s just, does it feel like us, or does it not?”
Lucero moved away from Salt Lake City where the other members are based not too long ago, dragging the band’s writing process out as they adapted to not all being present in the same place. They persisted, however.
The band’s emphasis on an inspiration process above, say, a particular idol or icon lets them take left turns where other bands operating in a similar grind and chaos saturated space might feel more restricted. On their newest full length, they include morbid, drawn out songs reminiscent of doom metal, flowing in and out of what turns into a handful of tracks worth of the style when the time is right.
It’s all about staying on top of things, for Lucero. He’s gone this far — he doesn’t want to just take up a spot in a rut.
“I mean at this point in my career, there’s a certain point where I think I enjoy writing that kind of music more just because it’s new, or more new,” he says of the doom. “There’s less of that in our catalog, so writing music like that is slightly more satisfying in the long run if you can pull it off. In that way, I really like it.”
These colors all combine to paint the wild and engrossing picture A Patient Man.
Photo via Bobby Cochran. Preorders are at this link
Listen below via Spotify.