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Listen: German Extreme Metallers Ctulu’s ‘Sarkomand’

The band, inspired by fantasy fiction writer H.P Lovecraft, have reissued their second album on vinyl to mark a decade together

Rolling Stone India Dec 04, 2014
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Ctulu. Photo: couresy of Dewar PR

Ctulu. Photo: couresy of Dewar PR

The dark and twisted writing of American poet and novelist H.P. Lovecraft has inspired several artists including Metallica, deadmau5, Arctic Monkeys and Cradle of Filth. German extreme metallers Ctulu, named after a fictional deity that featured in a short story titled The Call Of Cthulhu written by Lovecraft in 1928, have devoted the last 10 years to the writer’s work. Ctulu have traveled across London, Cyprus and Greece, singing about cults and mythic creatures in German. Guitarist-vocalist Arne Uekert says, “It’s very special in the way we do it. Other bands tend to force it on themselves. When you look at bands like Metallica, they wrote about that [Lovecraftian themes] and went back to Satanism or whatever. I think for us, it’s really a whole concept.”

On their latest album Seelenspiegelsplitter, the band, which was formed in 2004, conjure a world where Lovecraft’s fantasy fiction is set to the sound of nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish harp instrument, a Bohemian harp and a grand piano. Says Uekert, “It shows a side of this band we probably won’t continue in the future. I think we wanted to show what we were capable of, but next time, we’ll keep it [songs] shorter and straighter.” Ctulu, which underwent several lineup changes, now comprises guitarist Mathias Junge, Uekert and drummer Roman Szymura.

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Following their 2007 debut album Freie Geister, the band headed to their first major festival show at Raganrok in Bavaria to release Sarkomand in 2011. Sarkomand featured Ctulu at their best, with a bruising, brutal mix of black and death metal. Despite being very much rooted in Germany, with lyrics in German and majority of shows in the country, Ctulu are now looking abroad and finding audiences in UK, Austria, Netherlands and Cyprus. Uekert recalls playing their first show in Cyprus in 2013, supporting Greek black metallers Rotting Christ. “The show was sold out, we had 550 people packed into a venue, which was great. We really liked playing there. It was so different, because when we had the Seelenspiegelsplitter album release, we had 80 people over three days.” The guitarist jokes, “That kind of makes us think we’re haunted or whatever.”

Listen to Sarkomand exclusively here. Buy the limited edition vinyl here.

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