CULTES DES GHOULES, Häxan (2011, Hell’s Headbangers)
There are at least four covers for this album (originally released on cassette, naturally, in 2008), and while one of them has two big dumb skulls, this lone entry with but one big dumb skull is, I believe, the Hell’s Headbanger issue. I’m also pretty sure this image is a screen cap of a cellphone pic of a CRT television paused on a VHS copy of some 8mm student horror film called Skull Communion or Chalice of the Skull or whatever, because what else would it be?
Primitive black metal, reminding me more of Bathory than Darkthrone. The sound is cruddy in the way that makes you think they asked the recording engineer to make it sound worse than it had to, just because that’s the sort of thing these kinds of bands like. Which is to say, this entire affair is one giant pose. But, whatever. Every scene has its own esoteric signifiers of authenticity. I expected this to be a completely amateur one-man-band situation, but it appears there is a four-man ensemble at work here, and truthfully, they’re not terrible players, but this music is so far from interesting to me that I’m struggling to not insult it reflexively, if only because I’m running really short on black metal insults after a year and a half of this blog. Basically, if you can imagine yourself liking a Polish black metal band with a French name and a Swedish album title, then you’ll almost certainly love this shit for reals.
— Friar Johnsen