Saturday 27 September 2014

Cult Of Occult - Hic Est Domus Diaboli

I first came across this French doom band when I checked out the Master Of Reality: CVLT Nation Sessions, which featured notable doom bands Primitive Man, Rorcal, Usnea & Graves At Sea covering Black Sabbath tracks alongside Bongripper and Albino Panther (whom I'd never heard of). You can stream said sessions here -

I was surprised and dirtily heavy Cult Of Occult were and when I found out that UK doom label Dry Cough Records has pre-orders up for this tape, I flew straight in there. With their only previous release being a self-titled EP in 2012, Cult Of Occult released this record initially in 2013 on CD, via Totalrust Music. The band then came to the attention of Dry Cough and Breathe Plastic Records, who released Hic Est Domus Diaboli on tape earlier this year together. They are also coming to these shores this December, with date planned in London, Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol.


1. In Vino Veritas
2. Pro Diabolus
3. Opus Ad Odio
5. Requiem
6. Magna Eripe

Feedback is the staple of doom and in fact, most slow heavy music. It sets a tone for the music and if it screeches enough, it can set you teeth on edge, That’s what happens with the very first ring on opener In Vino Veritas. Cult Of Occult use it to open up the first couple of minutes of Hic Est Domus Diaboli before the crunching, lurching guitars, crashing cymbals and low-growls vocals kick in. I’ve stood transfixed at doom gigs many a time in the past and Cult Of Occult sound like exactly the sort of band that would induce an out of body experience. 

Pro Diabolus has a slightly positive feel as the opening riffs begin. The melody created wasn’t expected at first but as the rasping screams come into sight, it starts to sound all the more sinister. It’s  nearly eighteen minutes in length and further accentuates the feeling of dread that Cult Of Occult’s winding, sprawling doom creates. The lumbering bass that provides more low-end heft, gives the guitar a run for it’s money on here and without the crashing cymbals, things would just not be the same. It gets heavier and heavier, the longer it plays for and if you’re not in a trance at the end, you’re doing it wrong!

Obviously, there are sludgier moments amongst Hic Est…, but Opus Ad Odio features some slow and festering groove that bare no adoration for the dirty south. This is straight-up, bass-heavy chaos. Much like the rest of the tape really! The retro fuzz created mid-way through the song brings to mind all kinds of psychedelia and funk strangely. This song as a whole promotes the experimental side of the band. The chanting that follows helps to explain their name (there’s even a hint of the occult within it).

With DCLXVI, Cult Of Occult turn towards their stoner brethren with a short interlude that features plenty of groove n riff. It’s a welcome escape from the dank darkness that this tape holds. It does slightly remind of those underground industrial discos, but that’s not a bad thing. I can see plenty of goths dancing to this! Requiem is minimalist in style to begin with, but fear not as this song is anything but shy and retiring. It resembles the tape’s opener. This song epitomises the way I felt when I heard their Black Sabbath cover on the aforementioned Cvlt Nation session. Superbly slow and heavy, with no pandering to fashion or hype. 

Cult Of Occult create one last mammoth wall of sludge on Magna Eripe. Those riffs may sound atonal to some, but damn are they big! In fact this whole song is big. A fine what to end a tape that despite it’s diminutive physical size, more than fills you speakers and your room with cavernous soundscapes of utter, ludicrously heavy joy. If you buy one doom/sludge tape this year, make sure it’s this and for god sake, keep both eyes fixed firmly on this band. Tres Bien Merci!

Stream it here:-

You can buy Hic Est Domus Diaboli on tape, CD and via digital download from the band directly above.

You can also buy it on tape and CD from the below labels:-

Dry Cough Records -
Breathe Plastic Records -
Totalrust Music -

Cult Of Occult Facebook -
Dry Cough Records Facebook -
Breathe Plastic Records Facebook -
Totalrust Music Facebook -

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