Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane

Today we have reviewer Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviewing the new LP from Cultes Des Ghoules titled Hexbane, released via Hells Headbangers.


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.

Supuration – CU3E

Today we have the Old Disgruntled Bastard reviewing the new album from Supuration titled CU3E, released via Listenable Records.


1. Sinergy Awakes 05:42
2. Introversion 04:06
3. The Disenthrall 02:17
4. Consumate 06:00
5. The Incongruents 03:33
6. The Delegation 05:24
7. Data Dance 05:04
8. The Flight 03:39
9. The Climax 05:09

‘I have sat inside the tub half filled with water. I have run the flat of the blade over my skin, felt its gelid menace slither invitingly across my veins. I have watched the waters turn russet with the slivers of a thousand unconsummated dreams. Moments like aeons I have spent hovering over my erstwhile shell, watching my mother cradle my head in her arms. Without mooring, I have languished, lost and confused, in limbo, an infinitesimal point of energy with no anatomical compass, yet a mute witness to the senseless pain, internecine and futile, that I have  inflicted on myself, and my kith and kin. I am suffering a second postpartum death, a severance from Mother Life herself, seeking a way out of this interstitial, cosmic funhouse, to escape past failures and misgivings that haunt me from around every corner. Has it been seconds or seasons, has time ceased to hold all meaning? Weary and discombobulated, I wander in search of …what? Salvation? Reunification? Termination?

I see something in the far distance, refulgent as it draws close. Closer still, and I can now see it is a cube. It cuts through me in a painless embrace, imprisoning me inside its translucent walls. I look out through them and realize that I have lost all sensation of space. We bob in a sea of nothingness, though not in desolation for there are other cubes around, just like mine. Containing others, just like me?’

That, to paraphrase, is the starting premise of Supuration‘s Cube saga, now in its third installment, each spread ten years apart from the other, but one that, I presume, has been expounded on in the band’s other incarnation as S.U.P. (Spherical Unit Provided). Supuration’s under-appreciated debut from 1993, ‘The Cube’, displayed a perfect balance of death/doom metal, tinged with elements from traditional heavy metal and thrash, sifted through a distinctly Voivod-ian sieve. The follow-up ‘Incubation’ elaborated on the story from a pregnant woman’s perspective, each song denoting a month in the gestation cycle, the seed inside belonging to the character from the debut, now in the throes of rebirth. It is an intriguing concept, but Incubation, while still being memorable, went too far in compromising the subtle grittiness of the first LP, adopting a more intrusive goth-metal sentimentality that was all the rage in the mid-90s.

Fortunately, CU3E sees Supuration returning to the style of their debut, amplifying the rougher edges yet adamantly, and refreshingly, refusing to entertain any modern-day fads. This is fervently old-school metal, in tone, matter, and spirit. Supuration‘s technicality doesn’t derive from any overstated prowess at instruments, but from an understanding of dynamics and a powerful harmonic unity. Often, power lies in words that aren’t said, in notes that aren’t played; Supuration demonstrate the axiom to the fullest. They are a band of words and images, and I imagine their approach to songwriting provides the optimum platform for dispersing their ideas.

Supuration aren’t an overly aggressive band. Sure, there is a seething undercurrent of darkness and mystery in their music, but these are songs that could be called mellow, idyllic even, though admittedly by a somewhat twisted imagination. The drumming rarely steps outside established heavy metal norms, almost never resorting to death metal staples. The music is a hybrid of Scandinavian death metal, early works of the Peaceville doom trio, and the more accessible sound that they, along with the likes of Rotting Christ, Moonspell, Septic Flesh, and others, went on to adopt as the 90s wore on. It serves well to remember, however, that Supuration were their contemporaries in every possible manner and not just con artists that arrived at the scene post-event.

Ludovic Loez’s vocals during the cleaner, robotic sections, are heavily inspired by Snake from Voivod, as is the band’s use of dissonant, “pulsing” chords, so common on Dimension Hatross and Nothing Face. It seems a happy coincidence that both bands have released  great, come back albums this year. Supuration also make sparing use of choirs to emphasize a certain dreamlike quality so central to their lyrical concept. The songs work well enough as stand alones – ‘Consumate’ has a main refrain that reminds me of Metallica‘s Orion, ‘The Delegation’ has a chorus infectious as the Spanish Flu, and there are classic hooks scattered throughout – but there is a central thread running from start to finish. CU3E is an album, first and foremost, a quality rarely found in modern heavy metal. And therein lies Supuration‘s greatest triumph.

Just a beautiful old school metal album that has a little in it for everybody.

Cerekloth – In the Midst of Life we are in Death

We have Jayaprakash Satyamurthy reviewing Cerekloth’s new LP ‘In the Midst of Life we are in Death‘, released via Hells Headbangers Records.



2.Born Of The Void
3.Within The Hollow Crown
4.Halo Of Syringes
5.Nest Of Disease
6.Mesmerizing Holy Death
7.When Outcast Become Kings
8.The Reapers Instant Is Our Eternity


Cerekloth draws from the more deliberate, doomy side of the classic death metal sound. Autopsy, Cianide, some Obituary – these are obvious reference points. So you know from the outset not to expect blinding speeds and technicality. What counts is whether Cerekloth have the songs to sustain the atmosphere they’re trying to create. On the evidence of their first full-length, they do.

‘Halo of Syringes’ was previously released on an EP, and it’s easily the centerpiece of this album. The massive, purposeful sound conjures up an atmosphere of inescapable desolation. The vocals, a little like early  Chuck or Reifert, add to the nightmarish vibe. The questing, ominous melodies and layers remind me a little of Ulcerate as well.

The album opener, ‘Preludium/Born of the World’ begins with a long, sludgy instrumental in which half-glimpsed melodies seem to weave in and out of a haze of distorted guitars. The tension slowly builds, ably assisted by the rhythm section, and about three minutes into this track, we’re firmly in slow, doomy death metal territory. Once again, I have to mention how apropos the melodies on this album are. Melody, glibly taken to be an absolute good and hastily added to the generic bag of tricks, has been the downfall of large numbers of modern metal acts, in my opinion. Tunes that would not be out of place on an ABBA record or at a polka revival, with ruddy-cheeked accordion players in their hordes and big-bosomed dancers in dirndls in attendance, are somehow passed off as metal and blared out to clueless fans who mosh along blissfully and imagine they’re actually into heavy music. Those aren’t the kind of melodies Cerekloth deals in; instead, they take us back to Slayer in their heyday, to Autopsy at their most morbid, dealing out melodies that unnerve and forebode.


Stream the entire album from the Bandcamp player below:


‘Mesmerising Holy Death’ is another standout track, living up to its title. Steady, implacable drums support a sluggish, misanthropic riff. Deep, guttural vocals gurgle out what are no doubt horrific tales through a song that keeps threatening to roar into full-speed mayhem, but instead builds the suspense by retaining its moderate pace while hinting at a release of power to come. Instead, there’s a long, flowing solo with a strangely watery tone that manages not to sound out of place at all. Cerekloth may not be working in the most original idiom, but they’re still here to play by their own rules.

Other highlights include the epic album closer, ‘The Reaper’s Instant Is Our Eternity’ and the riffing on ’Within The Hollow Crown’. The vocals are consistently strong throughout the album, never just a generic grunt but a twisted, gut wrenching wordstew that adds palpably to the impact of each song. The drum work is tight and sure, varying between a half-time feel and mid-tempo blasting, but the real stars here are the guitarist who have a massive, funebreal tone and the tunes to match.

Victor Griffin’s In-Graved (S/T)

Today we have Jayaprakash Sathyamurty covering the self-titled album from Victor Griffin’s In-Graved  released via Svart Records.



1. Digital Critic
2. What If…
3. Late For An Early Grave
4. Fading Flower
5. Thorn In The Flesh
6. Teacher
7. Love Song For The Dying
8. Never Surrender

It was no big surprise when Victor Griffin walked out on Pentagram (again) after the Last Rites kinda-reunion album. Pentagram’s central figure and visionary, frontman Bobby Liebling has never been an easy person to work with, by all accounts, and it’s unlikely that the classic line-up of Liebling, Hasselvander, Griffin and Swaney will ever play together again for any extended period of time. More surprising was Victor Griffin’s decision to pull up stakes and disband his long-running act, Place Of Skulls. Your ability to appreciate or ignore that band’s frequently faith-influenced lyrics (Griffin isn’t just a high priest of the heavy guitar; he’s also a devout Christian) may vary, but the music was always right on target: heavy, dark and distinctly doomy. Nonetheless, Griffin has decided to make a fresh start with a new band, albeit one with many familiar conspirators on board, at least in the studio. These include drummer Pete Campbell, former Trouble bassist Jeff Olson on organ and a smorgasboard of bassists who’ve played with bands like 50 Watt Shaman, Goatsnake, Acid King and of course Pentagram.

So what makes this band different from Place Of Skulls? Perhaps not all that much; for one thing, I’ve heard that a couple of these songs have been in Griffin’s kitty for more than two decades, so it isn’t like everything here has been created totally from scratch. Such considerations fade away as the thunderous grooves of ‘Digital Critic’ stride into contention. The tone is thick and juicy – vintage Griffin – and the riffs are everything you’d expect from one of the most legendary hard rock/doom metal guitarists in the scene. Griffin’s vocals are assured and powerful, making Bobby Liebling only the third best vocalist of the classic Pentagram line-up. The song is apparently a screed against, er, online critics (like me!), but any faint sense of persecution is rendered insignificant as Griffin unleashes a swirling, hypnotic multi-tracked lead with a fiendishly groovy backing rhythm. ‘What If…’ is a more stately number, where Griffin’s warm, rich melodies are ably backed by Olson’s organ. ‘Late For An Early Grave’ would make a great fit on any vintage Pentagram album, and is a brilliant showcase for Griffin’s lead skills.  Whether or not you share or even tolerate Griffin’s faith, it fuelled some very soulful songs on Place Of Skulls and this trend continues with the more downtempo track ‘Fading Flower’. An implacable, lead-footed riff surges like a force of nature, embellished with striving organ chords. Griffin’s vocals are passionate and his soloing is, in a word, divine. Best of all, that morose, melancholy aura you’d quite rightly expect from a doom song is never far away. ‘Thorn in the Flesh’ would have sounded equally in place on a Pentagram album or one by Place Of Skulls, but it’s all good, at least we have a band and an album to listen to an excellent recording of an excellent song. The organ adds another layer of drama to some of Griffin’s rhythmic breaks in the song. The next song is something of a coup – a cover of the early Jethro Tull single, ‘Teacher’, that somehow sounds like it’s been filtered through desert rock. I never thought Tull’s hard rock/metal Grammy was all that undeserved. There’s always been a central core of heaviness running through their music, and it is great hearing Griffin do his stuff with this track. ‘Love Song For The Dying’ is the album’s epic. A thunderous intro dwindles to a sustained organ note before a grinding, lugubrious riff steps in. Griffin’s vocals are dramatic and tuneful. The band is in fine form, pacing themselves through the changes. There are effective organ and guitar solos, but the focus is on the grooves and the lyrics. The song is a massive, brilliant downer, and maybe that’s why Griffin chooses to end the album with a Detroit-style uptempo rocker called ‘Never Surrender’. I understand the impulse, but frankly this song feels a bit slight after the majesty of ‘Love Song For The Dying’.

The album is very well produced, with the caveat that the organ sits rather low in the mix. Just a few notches higher and the music would have preserved its guitar-first focus but which just that little extra bit of texture. Still, it’s Griffin’s band and he calls the shots. I’m not complaining, and neither will you.

Svart Crown – Profane



01. Manifestatio Symptoms
02. Genesis Architect
03. Intern . Virus . Human
04. In Utero: A Place Of Hatred And Threat
05. Until The Last Breath
06. Profane
07. The Therapy Of Flesh
08. Venomous Ritual
09. Ascetic Purification
10. Revelatio: Down Here Stillborn

The French seems to harbor a secret well of creativity which they draw upon to transform their brand of metal into something very sui generis. Today every single metal release from the country seems to generate a sense of buzz and excitement.  This prevailing state of reverence for the French metal scene has been laid down by a string of creatively transcendent releases from bands such as Deathspell Omega, Gojira, Blut Aus Nord, Gorod, and the rest of their unholy ilk.  Svart Crown is very much in the same vein and may as well serve to extend the mentioned lineage with their new album ‘Profane’. Blackened Death is a genre christened by the likes of Behemoth and Belphegor, while several bands have taken to their footing, they’ve never even come close to these giants in terms of quality musical output. Svart Crown arrives, takes hold and sustains that status, although not necessarily going beyond the benchmark set by aforementioned bands.

Staying true to the album art ‘Profane’ is Svart Crown’s third full length, their second with Listenable Records. Draped in the more blackened of death metal variants they lash out with relentless corruptible force. Every bit apocalyptic, the band tacks in several slow dissonant riffs that breed a certain sense of melancholy amidst all of the cultivated chaos that abounds. The black metal element almost always manages to rear its head in every track, yet it really hits its stride in the track ‘Until my Last Breath’ which is an obvious highlight of the album. Despite being one solid slab of blackened death, it falls victim to the now veritable ‘more in the same vein’ syndrome. Vocally and instrumentally, there is nothing out of the box here and almost everything falls on the very same line tread earlier and better by others in the genre. Yet several brilliant and catchy elements unveil themselves at a many a spot throughout the entire album. The ones that come to mind include the blissful yet brilliant chord progression towards the end of ‘In Utero – A Place of Hatred’, the bass drop triggered gigariff towards the end of opener ‘Genesis Architect’, the exercise in uber brutality that is ‘Ascetic Putrefaction’ and finally the laidback after-riff motif that appears twice in the closer ‘Revalatio – Down Here Stillborn’. Yet one cannot but hope to feel them all as few and far between.

Although monotony and weariness does ail the album at times, nothing takes away the unadulterated brutality that the album exudes throughout its entirety.