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Review of the Album Cult of One by American Thrash Metal Band Whiplash

Updated on April 24, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Cult of One Is Another Album That Has a Different Vocalist In It

Whiplash is one of those American thrash metal bands that many fans will overlook but after their pretty good 1989 studio album called Insult to Injury with songs such as the catchy Hiroshima, I decided to give their 1996 studio album Cult of One a review and analysis. Entering to do the vocal duties for this album is “Rob Gonzo” or Robert M. Gonzalez. I think he kind of sounds like Peter Dolving (ex-The Haunted) vocalist but his voice isn’t nearly as harsh as Peter’s is.

A Little Bit About the History of the Band Whiplash

Whiplash is a band that since their formation in 1983 originally as the band Jackhammer, then played under its current name of Whiplash from 1984 until 1990 before disbanding until 1995 and then reforming. The band would be on an even more extended break from 1999 until 2007 though. Their return is a good thing for US thrash metal which is still pretty good overall as a scene but I’d still give a country like Germany the edge when it comes to thrash metal greatness though.

Why Is Cult of One an Interesting Album?

In the song called “Enemy” Rob sounds like a mix of Henrik Klingenberg and Phil Anselmo. So in a sense, Cult of One represents a sort of interesting period in the career of Whiplash because Rob experiments with different vocal styles. So the listener gets to hear a vocal style of Peter Dolving, Phil Anselmo, Phil Rind, and Henrik Klingenberg all in one album.

"Such Is the Will"

Cult of One Has Both Crossover Thrash & Progressive influences In It

There is a sort of Corrosion of Conformity riffing style in the song Wheel of Misfortune. The song makes reference to the fact that the rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting more destitute. This is one of the narratives that we sometimes hear from the media and some politicians in the United States. The Corrosion of Conformity influence can also be heard in the song called No One’s Idol. I begin to hear the influence of Phil Rind in this song. For those of you that don’t recall, Phil Rind is the vocalist and bassist for Sacred Reich. “Heavenaut” has that feel that it sounds sort of like Pantera’s song “Hollow” and it has that progressive feel that we would hear from Fates Warning. Then there is a transition and suddenly the song sounds like the song called “The Oath” in the album Don’t Break the Oath several years ago. It seems like Mercyful Fate’s influence eventually took shape.

Cult of One Is Also Interesting Because

Cult of One begins with the song Such is the Will and this one has a definite progressive influence to it which may not be a bad thing depending on your musical tastes. The song is lyrically about the fact that it is the will of God or our creator that when we are born, one day we shall die. Where does the soul go when the body dies? Some people may wonder about where their spirit goes after death but life is so rich and rewarding, why think about such a morbid subject? Cult of One has melodies in it which sound like the German band Kreator. The melodies in the album Cult of One are just influenced by Kreator and Kreator has set a standard of excellence in thrash metal that should be congratulated and praised. Lost World is an instrumental song that in my analysis sounds like an instrumental that Yngwie J. Malmsteen would have written. The riffing and the classical style feel of this song gives the clue of where the influences came from. A little bit into this song we know that Whiplash shows that they can be creative as well. You can hear the bass lines as well and they sound like the first Rising Force album. Cult of One continues this album which is pretty darn good considering the style contrast between this album and Insult to Injury. The title track has a solid riff to start as it builds into a song about someone that feels like their life is worth next to nothing.

Cult of One: Final Thoughts

Cult of One is an interesting album from these New Jersey veterans for a few principle reasons:

  1. The different vocal styles as previously mentioned
  2. The progressive nature of the album along with the thrash metal influence.
  3. A neoclassical feel to the album

Cult of One is a good modern album from the band Whiplash and although it is not as good as a modern day Metallica album it is still diverse, interesting, and good to listen to.

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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