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Cultes Des Ghoules – Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love

Cultes Des Ghoules
Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 23 June 2017, 2:48 PM

Perhaps more than any modern genre of Metal, Black Metal has diversified to the point where you can hear a new take on the genre with nearly every new release. Purists will still want their father’s Black Metal, with anguished, high pitched vocal screams, that “wall of sound” that hits you like a freight train and seeks to engulf you, and that droning, two-chord riff and purposeful muffled production. These bands are still around, but for me that sound is in the past, and should stay in the past. CULTES DES GHOULES, formed in Poland in 2004, is not one of those bands. Sure, some of the traditional elements remain, otherwise you could not call it Black Metal. But they have added to the number of plates at your meal with an avant-garde approach, and more diversity than you may have expected in this style of music. Five songs they present, with a total running length of 70 minutes. Each song is a movement if you will, a lengthy affair that tells part of the overall tale. Take heed, as I would not listen to this album if you are alone at night in the dark.

“The Prophecy (Prologue) / Devell, The Devell He Is, I Swer God…(Scene 1)” leads off the album. There are a variety or riff and vocal styles presented. If the ultimate goal were to summon beings from the underworld, that has been accomplished. It’s an affair of vial atrocity, black with a side of blackness, and evil to the core. You can hear the Lord Of Darkness torturing souls in the fiery pit, doomed to eternal damnation. The threshold of your pain is surpassed, and does not lessen. At one point if you don’t keep your wits about you it threatens to claim your very soul. The mesmerizing rhythm is hypnotic, and prays on the weak. The organ note that open “Mischief, Mischief, The Devilry is a Toil (Scene II)” are very pretty. As you enter the church and walk towards the softly lit candelabras and the rays of sun shining through the stained glass windows, you move closer towards the organist to take in the beautiful music, only to discover in horror that she is undead, with rotting flesh baring her brittle bones. She turns to you and screams and her wicked repugnance saps the life out of you.

“Strange Day, See the Clash of Heart and Reason (Scene III)” also begins with soft organ notes, though they are a little more imposing. They soon lead to a riff that is supported by a vocal chant in the form of a steady hum. From there, single guitar notes ring over and over in a familiar riff, behind a sinister voice. A haze of smoke clings to the air, thick and noxious. Some say hell is repetitiousness, others the literal lack of reason. For much of the track it is the repetitiveness that tortures you. It moves you to sloth, deadening your senses and turning you into a mindless entity that can be easily manipulated. The organ returns briefly at the end in a reprise of sorts.

The tale hastens. “Storm is Coming, Come the Blessed Madness (Scene IV)” is fast and furious from the start. A storm is brewing in Hades and armies are mobilizing for a surprise attack on humanity in the dead of the night. The march begins at about the halfway mark of the song, where the rhythm slows and stays steady, with a sinister sound overall. Closing the album is the near 30 minute song “Satan, Father, Savior, Hear My Prayer (Scene V).” A female voice pleads for his help during the opening sequence. It’s the final movement in the utter conquest of the world. Evil is incarnate now, and there is nothing to stop Satan’s war. The chanting voices around the mid-way mark give haste to his conquest, and his hearty laugh mocks all those who oppose. A lot of spoken word in this lengthy track echo declarations of sorts.

These guys are the real deal. My image is not of regular Joe’s in corpse paint on stage to push a caricature of themselves as a believable image of rebellion, but rather the embodiment of all that is gloriously sinful. This was one of the more interesting Black Metal albums I have heard in a while. Imparting pure evil and madness is not easily done, and the album reveled in a deeper story. The various techniques of how the story is told is what makes it such a unique listen. Sometimes it is told through spoken word and chants, other times through screaming vocals, still others through the music itself, or lack thereof ambient and droning passages. It was so raw and filthy that I found myself wanting a cleanse of sorts after hearing it. If you like Black Metal, and appreciate the points of patience it takes to gather the bigger picture, this is an album for you.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Prophecy (Prologue) / Devell, The Devell He Is, I Swer God…(Scene I)
2. Mischief, Mischief, The Devilry is a Toil (Scene II)
3. Strange Day, See the Clash of Heart and Reason (Scene III)
4. Storm is Coming, Come the Blessed Madness (Scene IV)
5. Satan, Father, Savior, Hear my Prayer (Scene V)
Lineup:
No Known Line-Up
Record Label: Hells Headbangers Records
     


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