Cult of Occult – Ruin (Review)

Cult of Occult - RuinThis is the latest EP from French sludge doom band Cult of Occult.

Ruin contains a single 22-minute eponymous track; a nightmarish monster of prodigious proportions. Not only that, but there’s also a bonus track in the form of a remix of the title track, which itself lasts 19 minutes. Overall, this release boasts 41 minutes of anguished blackened sludge doom. It’s nasty, but it’s also damn good.

Ruin is a towering behemoth of a song, all tar-like guitars, crushing droning doom, and foul, malignant vocals. The music is as pitch-black as the rest of the band’s material, and swamps the listener with hopeless despair and menacing pain. The band’s use of repetitive drone elements would be hypnotic if they weren’t so malevolent and terrifying. Cult of Occult’s music is deeply unfriendly, but also rewarding if you’re partial to this sort of ugly blackened sludge.

Halfway through the song a bright arc of resplendent beauty appears in the form of a rogue melody. It’s brief, unexpected, but notably striking, especially once it’s gone, as the band’s potent doom heaviness is somehow even more powerful all of a sudden. The same thing happens just after the 16-minute mark, only this time the effect is much more sinister and eerie.

The last few minutes of Ruin find the band building tension and emotive power, and just when you expect it to burst into some form of hideous aggressive explosion, it stops and descends into feedback. It’s an effective tactic that shouldn’t work, but really does.

This then leads us to the second and bonus track – nuiRe, which is billed as Ruin‘s evil remix. This is a dark ambient, noise, and drone interpretation of the main song, (primarily the section mentioned above around the 16/17-minute point), while still retaining enough of the original crushing heaviness to ensure the listener’s attention is held. The remix keeps the core dark horror of Ruin, and draws it out, emphasising the nightmarish aspects of the song and teasing them forward into the light.

Cult of Occult’s new EP is the sort of thing that leaves you flattened and destroyed. In case there is any doubt, in this case this is a very good thing. If you’re a fan of bands such as Primitive Man, Hell, Body Void, etc. then make sure you don’t miss out on this horrific slab of doom.

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