Genre: Black Metal
Label: Under the Sign of Garazel Productions
Cultes Des Ghoules is one of the bands that managed to captivate me with the first listening of their music. The lightning fast “bond” created, has succeeded in making me feel fear and fright; it made me shiver! However, simultaneously, CDG provided me with a psychic touch, a peculiar kind of eroticism and warmth that cannot be described in human terms. I know, it all sounds absurd; amazingly incompatible feelings and emotions. But at the bottom end of the day, the scraping of your soul’s depths by these seemingly conflicting concepts isn’t the reason why that something becomes one with you and sticks with you forever?
The mental, emotional, but also physical “excitement” brought by the release of the opus entitled “Hanbane” in January 2013, made many – including me – to think that Cultes Des Ghoules had reached the top of their Mount Everest. A vertex we thought the band would never reach again. Poor me… Little did I know. The first hearing of “Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love” served as a reality punch, and as the cause to reconsider the above statement (about the band reaching Everest) very summarily and say, “Oh, bless hell, they did it again.”
In a recent online discussion about this record, I mentioned having a sound mind, how Cultes Des Ghoules is “for just a few” listeners. Kind of romantic approach, I know. Nonetheless it’s extremely realistic at the same time. Yes, okay, every enthusiast of this genre can enjoy “Coven”, that’s not what I meant. But either we like it or not, there are only a few of us who really understand Cultes Des Ghoules’ music, touch an inch of their magic. Even fewer are those who will succeed in embracing in depth the compositions and the performance of the group or would enable CDG to fuck up ruthlessly their mind and soul. “Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love” isn’t just some album. It’s a sonic ritual; a musical call to your personal God; a stare into the Abyss with black eyes, but full of passion and attraction to darkness.
From the beginning until the last second, “Coven” is a product of an excellent conception, which the band showered with their personal light, while paying chilling attention to every detail. Somewhere here I should note that for all I know, “Coven …” is influenced by Master’s Hammer’s “The Jilemnice Occultist” (/ “Jilemnický Okultista”). With this as a given, Cultes Des Ghoules created a sonic / musical theater play, with macabre moments and free from any wussy nonsense. Essentially it is a Black Metal Operetta, based on intense horror atmosphere and is built upon a story with multiple characters, hence the variations in paces, rhythms, intensity and vocals (due to the plurality of persons). The undeniably exquisite vocal performance, generally the unique manipulation of the vocals, distinguished by tremendous transmissibility and theatricality inter alia, in conjunction with the transcendental, witty compositions, resulted in an album that flirts with the first position in the list of best releases for 2016. impressive is the length of the record and the theoretical mismatch of the number of tracks contained therein. On Disc 1 we can find four pieces that last about an hour and a quarter, while Disc 2 includes a single piece, lasting 28 minutes. Despite the fact that the songs are long in duration, time flies almost imperceptibly. We’re dealing with a finely structured album with appropriate pauses and transitions at rhythms at key points. Its so profound sequences make you forget the notion of time.
As for the production of “Coven …”, it is perfect. While keeping their dirty, muddy and filthy character, Cultes Des Ghoules sound better than ever. The album sounds as crystal and as blurred is needed, adding even more positive comments on the already huge list that has formed.
It’s an absolutely meticulous record, you should not let it slip through your fingers. Raising the standards of both the band itself and the levels of the global music scene in this genre, seems frightening. Unimaginable are the levels of compositions and performance. Even the cover is perfect, which in even though didn’t make an impression upon some of the band’s fans, it executed its role exactly as it should.
“Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love” was released by Under the Sign of Garazel Productions in a double digibook, which includes a booklet of 32 pages. Later the album will be released in triple LP vinyl. It was recorded at The Black Lodge and No Solace in the summer of 2015. The mixing and the production of the album were undertaken by Mgla and Cultes Des Ghoules themselves.