01. Idylls Of The Chosen Damned
02. The Passion Of A Sorceress
03. Vintage Black Magic
04. Festival Of Devotion
05. The Devil Intimate
When it’s all said and done, black metal is at its best when it is absolutely morbid and twisted, when it evokes a palpable miasma of the unclean, unholy and occult. Genre pioneers Mayhem nailed this vile, eerie atmosphere with the ponderous guitar layers and unearthly vocals of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. And if that kind of vibe is your cup of tea, no sorry, your splintered bone-goblet of brackish moonshine laced with hallucinogenic herbs, you’re ready to join the acolytes of the Polish black metal sect that goes by the name of Cultes Des Ghoules.
Another one of those orthodox black metal collectives that veils its individual identities, Cultes Des Ghoules established a reputation for crushing black metal that projects an undeniable aura of primal evil and dark rituals with their first album, Haxan, and they’re back to unleash a new set of pandemonic chants and horrific soundscapes.
Stream the album below…now!!!!!
The first thing that stands out is the sound – it’s thick, dense, not at all crudely produced, but still somehow raw and oppressive. The guitar tones are just that little bit over the top in true black metal form, and the drummer varies between fast, double bass-anchored parts and lurching, tribal patterns. This makes the drum work an integral part of the atmospheric effort, not just a faceless obligato running its fleet-footed way in complete disregard of the musical context. The vocals are utterly ghoulish, as indeed they ought to be, and if someone told me the being that uttered these rasping chants and guttural cries was in fact some graveyard-scouring, subterranean monstrosity from a Lovecraft story, I wouldn’t have too much trouble believing them.
The songs are frequently bracketed in brief atmospheric melodies and a restrained use of samples that add to the uncanny atmosphere. Highlights include the rank ululations and simple yet darkly insinuating guitars of ‘The Passion of a Sorceress’ and the acolyte-march riffage and swooning vocal invocations of ‘Festival of Devotion’, but there really isn’t a false step here. These 5 songs are lengthy, hypnotic and completely effective in their creation of an atmosphere of obscure horror. This isn’t the kind of black metal that will dazzle hipsters with an eclectic mix of influences or appeal to the mainstream metal crowd with epic guitar solos and technical drumming. Instead, it’s the equivalent of the kind of horror movie I keep hoping they’ll make some day, something with the lush atmosphere and visceral horror of a Dario Argento film, crossed with the immediacy and immersion of a found-footage film. That’s a combination which we may never see; but in the meantime, Cultes Des Ghoules is putting out the same mix of rich texture and engaging spontaneity, all in service of a chillingly effective whole, in musical form.