By now, CULTES DES GHOULES should need no introduction. For the past decade and a half, this mysterious Polish entity has patiently crafted one of the most singular sounds in the black metal underground. Wholly reverential to the genre’s ancient past whilst forging alien terrain all their own, simply, there’s no other band around that sounds like CULTES DES GHOULES.
HŠxan…Spectres Over Transylvania…Henbane…especially the utterly MASSIVE Coven: all these records roam the wildest hinterlands of the black metal imagination, and are generally held in both fear and awe by the many who’ve witnessed them. Each sounds unmistakably like CULTES DES GHOULES, yet each inhabits its own unique headspace. As expected in its unexpectaton, Sinister follows this (bent) trajectory.
No one could expect CULTES DES GHOULES to create another Coven, which clocked in at nearly 100 minutes across two CDs or three 12″ vinyl records; they would never want to do that anyway. Instead, the coven dives headlong into the spacier crevasses of their inscrutable, always idiosyncratic sound. Like the blackest of magick, willed into being through both inmutable will and unselfconscious abandon, Sinister opens up – WIDELY – and again stretches sulfur and brimstone to their breaking point, with four of the five tracks topping ten minutes (or more) in length. Within, largely tribal/ritualistic drumming guides this Sinister spelunk into supernatural horrors yet witnessed; loose and lawless but always with torch in hand, the collective canvass teeth-gnashing gnarliness and haunting, stripped-back tension alike. It’s not “weird” black metal because it tries to be – it just IS, like always.
Saying more with less, Sinister is truly titled. CULTES DES GHOULES are legend.
Hells headbangers (USA), 2018.