SEEN AND HEARD: CULTES DES GHOULES, ELLENDE, THE INFERNAL SEA, WELLS VALLEY, FRONTIERER, CEMETERIUM
Getting kind of a late start on today’s post — yes, “post”, in the singular. I got slammed at my day job yesterday afternoon, and today will be no better. I’m now sitting on an airplane after leaving my house at 5 a.m. to start a cross-country trip, and as soon as I finish writing this thing, I’ll have to put my nose to the grindstone again.
Last night I did make my way through a bunch of new music and videos that have appeared since the weekend, and culled from them this collection of goodies.
CULTES DES GHOULES
The mysterious cult of ghouls from Kielce, Poland, are returning with a new album named Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love, which is set for a double-CD release by Hells Headbangers on November 25, 2017, with a triple-LP vinyl version coming later. All that extra physical room is needed because this new immensity is nearly 100 minutes long.
We’re told that the album is a kind of play portrayed in music and that it was inspired by Master’s Hammer’s The Jilemnice Occultist, which is “a black metal operetta with a story about romance and witchcraft”; “Cultes Des Ghoules wanted to write something similar but with more serious intent and without any ‘romance’ themes.”
All of the four songs are predictably long. The first one that appeared recently, “The Prophecy (Prologue) / Devell, the Devell He is, I Swer God… (Scene I)” is almost 23 minutes in length. It’s also quite amazing — a long, heady, diabolical trip that subsumes a great variety of dark metal before the trip ends — black metal, doom, ’70s occult rock with a Sabbathian tint, resemblances to a horror-movie soundtrack, and more.
The song’s intensity ebbs and flows, beginning with the creepy spoken words and equally creepy symphonic strings and timpani that launch this marvelous, witchy journey. And from there you get galloping drums; storming, thrashing riffs; tension-ratcheting vibratory leads; head-hammering rhythms; explosions of fury; slow, massive, sludgy stomps that build a growing atmosphere of horror; bombastic fanfares; morbid chords that toll like funeral bells; galvanizing death rock; and the kind of macabre twisting and cavorting that brings to mind a house band at a mad carnival.
The vocals in the song are a marvel all by themselves — a constantly changing but always delirious array of (among other things) acid-spraying shrieks, wolf-like baying, inflamed tyrannical proclamations, and the wailing of a man who sounds like he’s in the throes of dark spiritual ecstasy.
In a nutshell, this is a truly inspired example of long-form, genre-bending, black art.
P.S. Just minutes before posting this collection I learned that Cultes Des Ghoules had posted a second song from the new album on YouTube. This one is “Mischief, Mischief, the Devilry Is at Toil… (Scene II)”. It’s 11 1/2 minutes long. Rather than delay this post in order to hear and write about it, I’m just going to include it below along with “Scene I”.
Ellende are a duo from Graz, Austria, and their second album Todbringer is due for an
November 7 release date. Three songs had snuck their way onto Bandcamp before I discovered the album’s existence. All three are superb, atmospheric unions of black metal and post-metal.
The melodies range in mood from the wistful to the painfully depressive, but they’re as entrancing as they are dismal and despairing (especially in”Verehrung”, when swelling symphonic strings come in, deeply melancholy yet vibrant) .
The strong emotional power of the melodies is amplified by the wrenchingly intense harsh vocals, by the heaviness of the music’s low end, and by the blast fronts of strafing drums and searing guitars that periodically break the song’s normally somber pacing.
Heavy, anguished misery… but glorious as well.
THE INFERNAL SEA
The Infernal Sea’s most recent album is 2015’s The Great Mortality, which our Andy Synn lavished with praise in a review here about a year ago. This UK band have now released another video for a track from that album, the grooving, grime-ridden “Plague Herald”.
It’s a grim and merciless mid-paced song that both burns and bludgeons. Some grim treatment befalls a man in this video, too, plus you get to see the menacing visages of the band as they attack this song.
Wells Valley are an impressive new discovery for me from Lisbon, Portugal. They’ve recently released a video for a song called “Ophanim” that will appear on an upcoming EP named The Orphic.
The new song features squalls of dissonance, warped arpeggios with unnerving guitar tones, brute-force hammering, and blackened wolfish howls, balanced with a dismal, bass-led dirge that drags the song into a plague-ridden crawl. It’s poisonous, bone-rattling, desolate music that draws from sludge, doom, and post-metal. Wells Valley did a nice DIY job on the video, too.
The band’s debut album Matter As Regent came out last year and is on Bandcamp. I haven’t heard it yet, but definitely will — and I will certainly keep my eyes open for this new EP. You should, too.
(Thanks to starkweather for recommending this band.)
Frontierer are a Scottish band whose performance is featured in the next video. It’s a 28-minute clip of Frontierer’s full set at the UK Tech Metal Fest, held in England on July 7-11, 2016.
There’s plenty of dissonance, brute-force, polyrhythmic hammering, and red-eyed, larynx-burning vocals in this music. It’s jolting, jarring, and brain-jangling, and the video is also a lot of fun to watch, too. With powerful sound and excellent multi-cam perspectives (along with some judicious use of acceleration effects), it does a great job capturing the live experience.
(Credit to videographer Ewan McAleer, editor Ross Wiseman, sound mixer Pedram Valiani of Frontierer, and the peerless Brad Boatright for the mastering of the music.)
To conclude this collection I have a single from a black metal band named CemeteriuM, who hail from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Their debut album The Fall, The End was released in 2011, and their second full-length As Death Consumes the Earth was released in 2014.
The new song “Delirium” really grabbed me almost immediately with its abrasive torrent of viper-strike guitar leads, pulsating riffs, brutally jabbing drum-and-bass combos, spectral ambience, and its tandem of incinerating shrieks and hoarse death roars. At about the 2:30 mark it becomes a slow, pounding stomp laced with queasy, dissonant, jagged-edged guitars — and then it ramps up to a febrile fury, a sonic outpouring of mental derangement and violence. Very nice.
Nice to see my friends from Ellende here, they’re from my town 🙂
Oh and it’s a one-man project, the others are just session/live musicians…
Oh cool! As you can tell, I really like these new songs.
I think Cultes des Ghouls has never released anything short of an amazing album, and this looks to be no exception.
Ellende sounds promising