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angel of poison and deathA child of the twenty-first century, the satanic black metal of Cultes des Ghoules sounds, at a distance, like your average lo-fi, aggressive kind of underground black metal. What makes them stand out, for those who have the ears to distinguish such things, is that they are speaking the language, not merely repeating the sounds and emulating the phrase-riff expressions of older bands. This is visibly noticeable once one pays attention to the music directly, as black metal of any worth should always be listened to.

Angel of Poison and Death is a perfect black metal offering, being both atmospheric and corrosive without being defined by either of those adjectives. It sublimates aspects that other post-turn-of-the-century bands take as defining, or even as goals in themselves, and uses them to construct dense crypts of a labyrinthian kind by providing a concordant abundance of scenes that vary as to the way in which tempo and texture are used. By remaining willingly stiff and formal, yet blind to the very real flow of ideas and the clear maintenance of phases within a mood, it would be easy to simply discard the music as choppy, which would truly be tantamount to missing the forest for the trees.

Unlike other masterful black metal releases which excel at creating long soundscapes that shorten time, Cultes des Ghoules extorts pain out of every moment, slowing down time, if not at least bringing one’s conscience an intense awareness of the passing sensations. The composition style followed here works in an unconventional mode that places the needs of the organic growth of the piece first, maintaining propriety by having found a language that permits them variety of expression, even to the point of being able to contrast, because of the unity of this personal voice and a highly developed ability to slide smoothly from one statement to the next.

This is black metal strong in channeling, in communication, though not precisely the most marketable. It contains little for those looking for a simple quick fix except a temporal confusion, which is perhaps what some are looking for… Nonetheless, the greatest treasure lies hidden in that twilight area reminiscent of semi-lucid dreams, lying at the intersection between the uncontrollably emotional, yet receptive to the appreciation of reason. Whatever the actual case — whatever artists’ own awareness and perception of it — Angel of Poison and Death would fit in the description of music guided through a kind of mediumship, so to speak, whose structure is rationally coherent and rich in content by virtue of the concreteness or reality of the experience it transmits, but the source of which cannot be simply, or otherwise, be put into words.