Cintecele Diavolui – The Devil’s Songs (1996)

This is probably one of the more bizarre things that I have bought recently. Cintecele Diavolui is an old alias / side project that was used by Mortiis in the mid/late 90s when he was deep into making mainly dark ambient synth and keyboard based music, or as he called it – Dark Dungeon Music. Cintecele Diavolui is a pretty cool name in my opinion. The phrase means “The Devil’s Songs” in Romanian, which is also, rather coincidentally, the name of this 10″ mini-album. The five tracks here are spooky, and a little cooky; dark and suspenseful writing portrayed through the slightly cheesy classic-horror medium of synthetic organ sounds. The record claims that the music here isn’t performed by Mortiis as such, but by an old vampire called Vukodlak, who Mortiis “brought to life” for this release. Make of that what you will.

Musically, it is a charming yet cheap sounding record. It depends on entirely how you approach listening to the thing, and the same goes for all of Mortiis’ ‘Era 1’ output; if you can get past the fact that this sounds like it has been composed using the shittiest of the shit MIDI keyboard sounds in existence, then you will probably really enjoy it. These quirky, bargain-basement instrumentations can be over-looked on sprawling works such as Født Til Å Herske, Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent and Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør, but The Devil’s Songs suffers with the same ailment as The Crypt Of The Wizard’s material; once the composition is broken down into smaller tracks with more active instrumentation you can’t really ignore the shoddiness of the equipment used. It feels like music on a really old video game.

I suppose that the tackiness to the sound really adds to the overall atmosphere, but if you are familiar with the early Mortiis works listed above, please do not expect Cintecele Diavolui to possess the same haunting and depthless darkness. All in all, The Devil’s Songs isn’t a bad record in any way, the writing is fantastic, it’s just that the method of delivery used could have been more inventive. If you hated The Crypt Of The Wizard era Mortiis, then it’s a safe bet you won’t like this. Considering this isn’t a canon Mortiis release and was marketed as an entirely different project of “vampire music”, it would have been super, super awesome if this was played on a real church organ or something, for extra spooky and spine-chilling effect. But, it is what it is.

This was self-released by Mortiis back in the day, using his Dark Dungeon Music label. I would say that this is probably for fanatic-level fans only. Like I said, if you’re not too fussed on the Era 1 stuff then I wouldn’t bother checking this out. Otherwise, tuck in! Does insane, Legosi-accented vampire laugh