Ghoul Cult aka Ghoul-Cult began as a side project comprised of ex-Blot collaborators Kold (who then became Johnny Tombthrasher) and Ulvrekr (who became Ulrich Riff-Vomitor). I wouldn’t really be all that psyched about digging through this compilation if Mr. Tombthrasher wasn’t the drummer for one of the best black/doom bands Faustcoven and some of that same Celtic Frost influence is felt within Ghoul Cult‘s shoddy black/thrash metal sound. This self-titled compilation collects their 2002 ‘Initiation to the Cult’ demo along with their self-titled 2004 album, which was basically the 2003 ‘Night of a Thousand Ghouls’ demo with additional tracks. It doesn’t include their “To The Tombs” track recorded for their split 7″ with Urfaust from 2016.
Comparing the rote plagiarist black/thrash “fun” of the ‘Initiation to the Cult’ demo to their 2004 album is night and day in terms of quality and Ghoul Cult hadn’t really formed their sound at all until their second demo. The Celtic Frost and German thrash metal influences are readily complimented by Darkthrone-esque black ‘n roll style on ‘Ghoul Cult’ and though the entirety of this compilation is pure musical slop, it is an interesting cult black/thrash rarity. But these aren’t 3-4 minute quick buzzing black/speed rippers and in fact the riffing often sludges along like a free-roaming take on Dream Death‘s ‘Journey Into Mystery’ but clearly aiming for something closer to early Aura Noir. It isn’t necessarily doom metal yet it couldn’t be pigeon-holed as a pure thrash or first wave black metal style release, not by a mile. Even if their sound is a mess on the demo tracks I would highly recommend it to folks who love that middle ground of black/thrash/doom fusion mutant metal. It is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a label like Barbarian Wraith (RIP) back in the day and I mean that as a high compliment.
My favorite moments on ‘Ghoul Cult’ come from the strong riff adventure that is “Fucked By The Living Dead” and the likewise occult thrashing of “Dirge For a Funeral Age”; The frosty-tipped strangeness of “Trionfo Della Morte” with it’s Dream Death-like crunch is likewise worth hearing. The rest of the compilation is hit or miss for me, the quality of recording varies across the board and it doesn’t always feel like a carefully archival release as much as it does a primer for their sound/approach. Standard as the demo is I would still highly recommend this to fans of black/thrash if not only for a spin through the cobbled together full-length as it’s 5+ minute song lengths represent a weirdly progressive take on old school Hellhammer-ed thrash. I’m hoping that if the project continues on they’ll be able to recapture the unique sound of the full-length documented here and stray fully from the norms of modern speed/thrash retro outfits.
|Released||February 23, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Ghoul Cult on Facebook|
Smash this graveyard. 3.0/5.0
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