Whilst the album’s context may be rooted in “bad habits, dissatisfaction and addiction,” PERTRUBATOR aka James Kent makes space for euphoric catharsis too, explored via his crystalline guitar riffs, smoky synths and pounding drum sequences.
From the hazy opener “Reaching Xanadu” – a title which overtly hints at a new sonic world – to the eerie eight minute closer “God Says” (ft. Hangman’s Chair), Lustful Sacraments is designed to dissolve the synthwave shackles Kent felt his previous sound was constricted by. Engineered and recorded almost entirely by Kent himself, Lustful Sacraments is a sonic purge of dread and defiance in the face of genre pigeon-holing. Comparisons to Drab Majesty, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails are all fair and flattering, but Kent has cautiously constructed this record to propel listeners into PERTURBATOR’s new cinematic ether, whilst retaining his trademark heaviness.
Blending elements of classic post-punk, goth, and heavy techno rhythms, Kent’s offerings range from oppressive to enlightening, often within the same track. “Excess” buzzes with ominous unrest for six minutes, “Death Of The Soul” is a pounding, shuddering anti-anthem, whilst the visceral grinding synths that announce “Messalina, Messalina” are spliced with his evocative crystalline guitar riffs. Kent’s often sparse, echoey vocals add another layer of mystery to this murky sonic world, complimenting the ongoing aural headrush.
Five years in the making, Lustful Sacraments is a tenebrous lament to pulling yourself back from the brink, which sees PERTRUBATOR find peace in the gloom and rebirth in a mass of sombre, yet stimulating electronic sound.