Cultes Des Ghoules
Coven


4.5
superb

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
November 22nd, 2016 | 133 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

There was something intangibly unforgettable about Robert Eggers’ film The Witch from earlier this year, a nagging disquiet to it that stuck with me through the months after and again once I had the opportunity to watch it a second time. It still holds an aura of evil in my mind, one that I don’t think will be recreated any time soon. Now, it’s fair to wonder why I’m talking about a film in a review for Cultes Des Ghoules’ Coven, but I’ve been persistent in the belief that there’s a lot of intrinsic similarities between the two. Certainly there are differences aside from the medium; The Witch has an unbearably cold atmosphere while Coven is as hot blooded as black metal comes, and the plots are clearly different to boot. However, the central theme of paranoia and the classic New England witch hunt are one and the same. There’s not a band in existence that can capture a sense of ritualistic evil with archaic Christian concepts of witchcraft quite like Cultes Des Ghoules. With all this in mind, I’m busily adoring the idea that Coven is the perfect, dismally black metal companion piece to The Witch, and while it’s early still, I have an ominous feeling that it’s going to linger in the back of my mind in the same way that Eggers’ impeccably staged finale did.

Concept records rarely work out the way they’re intended, especially in metal, but in Coven’s case, it simply wouldn’t work any other way. It’s set up like a theater play, with “scenes” in place of songs and a generous hour and forty minute runtime to match. Tedious as it will be for some, others will feel it flow by like running water. Impeccably graceful songwriting keeps the tracks feeling tight and compact despite three of the five songs passing the twenty minute mark and the rest not far behind. Truly, it feels more like one long act than anything else. There’s an unbroken flow between thrumming metal and theatrical interludes that ties the story together. As to the story itself, it’s the type of narrative that needs to be experienced and read along to the music. Full of archaic dialogue (yes dialogue, recall the comparisons to a theater play) and a hundred different vocal styles to represent characters, Coven is more than just a record. It’s an entity unto itself, breathing blackened vapors and spitting fiendish filth.

Musically, Coven features a similar, but not identical, Cultes Des Ghoules to that found on Häxan or Henbane. Their brand of black metal, melding the dirty bass heavy guitars of Bathory with the ritualization of Beherit, is still intact, but it bows to the theatricality in its own way. The instrumentation hangs back more than before, tackling thunderclap-powerful mid paced rhythms and oozing doom riffs, all in the name of setting the stage for Mark of the Devil’s career defining performance here. He zooms through characters and voices with a gleeful abandon, channeling his natural homage to Mayhem’s Attila one moment, then touching down in alternately cleaner or filthier territory at others. And the atmosphere is always palpable, a dozen moods shifting across Coven’s runtime and every one feeling oh so devilish.

I have a great deal of love for black metal as a whole, the post-y variants and the atmospheric sorts, the true and the untrue. But if there was one band that nailed what black metal at its very essence should be, it’s Cultes Des Ghoules. Black metal is supposed to be black at heart, and it’s hard to argue that there are any blacker than they in the modern era. At this point I don’t even want to fight the urge to harp more on how much The Witch has in common with Coven. It did something similar with horror that Cultes Des Ghoules do with black metal. Though it didn’t fall squarely within that genre, it transcended and advanced the genre simultaneously. Coven is further proof of what Cultes Des Ghoules can do, and the magic, however evil, is undeniable. There’s a blackened twist to this New England folktale, and it feels so wrong in all the right ways.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

feeling good about this one, thank you to snox for the proofread, it cleaned it up nicely. not sure im ready to 5 this but I'm pretty close, easy top five of the year for me.



album is technically purchasable and officially released, just not as a download from what i understand and the only way to jam it is on youtube like this unofficial album stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDu_x6mYoPc



can read here as well: https://expressions-of-interest.com/2016/12/07/cultes-des-ghoules-coven/

zaruyache
November 22nd 2016


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"months after and again once I had to opportunity"



had the opportunity :3

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the catch

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


3997 Comments


Not even two people reading over can catch a mistake sometimes lol

zaruyache
November 22nd 2016


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

[insert joke about having the wrong rating too]

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"insert bad* joke"

Spacesh1p
November 22nd 2016


7275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review as well man, going to spin this in the afternoon today. Can't wait.

Digging: Inculcator - Void Abecedary

BallsDeep
November 22nd 2016


4647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review and great album cheers snox for making me aware of its existence

CaptainDooRight
November 22nd 2016


2244 Comments


excellent review Brett

Spacesh1p
November 22nd 2016


7275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn, possible aoty for me. This is some top tier stuff.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

appreciate the kind words fellas. i think i still prefer saor's latest to this, but it's literally by a paper thin margin and this is fresher so

Spacesh1p
November 22nd 2016


7275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the few long albums where the run time is no issue for me.

Spacesh1p
November 22nd 2016


7275 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven't jammed the new Saor but this is more my cup of tea anyway as far as BM goes.

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2016


3997 Comments


The lack of attention for this album bums me out

Relinquished
November 22nd 2016


36915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's been a couple weeks lol



(fortnight)

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2016


3997 Comments


yeah but i've been tryin to hype this band for like two years now to no avail

fortnight [2]

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ok so one of the coolest parts for me is that big chorus of maniacal laughter in track 1. Like it sounds like it should be the coven but whennyou read the lyrics it's just the villagers laughing in that very first scene. But yeah it's super creepy

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2016


3997 Comments


That's like my favourite scene. Brutal horse putdowns.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 23rd 2016


10224 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

How would you rank the songs if at all? As i said in the review I kinda think of it as one piece so i don't really have a ranking myself but i took from yours that your favorite is the closer right?

Astral Abortis
Contributing Reviewer
November 23rd 2016


3997 Comments


I don't really do rankings but the final track is my favourite



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