Review: Cultes des Ghoules – Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
Written by The Black Metal Bitch
Cultes des Ghoules is one of Poland’s premier black metal exports. A mysterious and extremely underrated band who are known for majestic, theatrical album tracks full of mysticism, occult atmosphere and some old school Satanic witchcraft; the band’s latest release is truly the stuff of nightmares.
A black metal album loaded with old world horrors, haunting soundscapes and vampiric energy twisted and hammered into one very monstrous, unholy creation, Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love is just what black hearts are looking for, so turn out the lights, light a few candles because this one is more than your typical black metal album. And while you’re at it, grab yourself a fine bottle of wine and delicious, perfectly cooked, because this is a long one and about as close to black metal theater as it gets.
The album is split into five parts or scenes with the first being ‘Prophecy/Devell, the Devell He Is, I Swear God…’, which sets the tone for the album with rainfall, thunder and demonic prayers leading into an unsettling, classic instrumental before finally giving black metal fans their first taste of soul crushing, punk-driven guitar riffs and howling vocals. Scene One is twenty-two minutes of layered madness with a very black metal core as CDG maneuvers through a full scale assault to slower rhythms halfway through as the band chugs along with their special blend of Faustian flavor. Just when you think it’s over, the blackened epic descends deeper into the pits of Hell as lead singer “Mark of the Devil” carries the listener along as he rants, chants and bellows and the band builds into another crescendo, a climax of devilish debauchery full of primitive drum fills, wild bass playing and the obligatory distorted guitar, all of which truly capture the essence of evil.
‘Mischief, Mischief, the Devilry Is at Toil…’ opens with some heavenly keyboard playing before throwing you back into the whirlwinds of chaos. There are some intricate bass parts and larger than life chanting that gives the feeling of bearing witness to some ancient ritual where demons long forgotten are conjured. Cultes Des Ghoules make excellent use of the atmosphere they’ve created and I can’t help wondering if I’m somehow opening the seventh gate to Hell. Scene Two lurches forward blending a number of influences together but in a way only they can deliver and it’s done flawlessly.
Our Third Scene is a grinding, churning black metal symphony. An extremely catchy bass riff lurches as the keys do their best to add a sense of horror before things slow down a bit and an overall sense of unpleasantness unfolds with more over the top, theatrical spoken word and an eerie guitar track all the while building. There are parts which carry, but I find myself waiting for the meat of the track to pick back up. So with this one you’ll need to exercise a bit of patience (something I’m not good at) as there is a payoff as CDG twist and turn through the slower elements before the crashing and abysmal metal portions of the song.
‘Storm is Coming, Come the Blessed Madness’ makes up for the slower parts of Scene Three; it’s full of visceral energy and could be the heaviest track of the album – this is fifteen minutes of what I would call “the good stuff”. The Cultes is never a mess of intense instrumentation but rather a very calculated, mischievous attack; they’re heavy and evil without the abrasiveness and I find that extremely refreshing as the track plays. I’m reminded at times of Mercyful Fate as there’s a story being told and the band functions much more like one in a Broadway Musical…okay, well that might be a stretch but I can appreciate the grand element of showmanship in the delivery.
The final act is also the longest song of all clocking in around a half hour. The official title of Scene Five is ‘Satan, Father, Savior, Hear My Prayer…’ and after what I can only assume to be a movie sample from some terribly old movie about Satanism or devil worship comes a ripping, bass driven anthem. All hands are on deck as the band finishes their latest masterpiece with some good old fashion heavy metal. There’s a ton of components to this one but then again what would you expect with a thirty minute song?
I have to say, Cultes Des Ghoules have created quite an amazing album here, especially for those of you who enjoy long tracks, long winded slow parts and the very over the top theatrics. I would absolutely advise you to listen with your full attention as there are so many variables at work here. With that in mind, this one is best enjoyed as a whole in the comfort of your own home. And by doing so I can honestly say I enjoyed the album for all its worth – you will not be disappointed, so do yourselves a favor and check this one out. 9/10