ROOT and MASTER’S HAMMER without a doubt are two of the Czech Republic’s most revered Metal in acts and if an info sheet of another Czech band’s debut cites both of them and heralds said band as “the new Czech masters of atmospheric black metal”, this is a pretty big thing. Prague based trio CULT OF FIRE come with this baggage and “Triumvirát” is what now will prove whoever came up with the namedropping right or wrong.
Featuring the former drummer of Progressive Death Metal cultsters LYKATHEA AFLAME, the basis of CULT OF FIRE’s sound undoubtedly is Black Metal, displaying several of the standard traits of the genre, but they do not just stop there. Instead they add plenty of atmosphere to their songs, not by the now almost omnipresent Gothic-influenced keyboards, but well placed use of the synthesizers, organ, sound effects, arcane melodies, the feeling of horror and impending doom all come together in an intense soundtrack of dramatic malice that will suck you right in and spit you out with your tattered flesh hanging from your bones.
“Závěť Světu” greets us with an ominous start, followed by a symphonic blastbeat attack, but it does not take long before it becomes clear that this is not your run-of-the-mill sympho Black Metal band, because once the Black Mass like atmosphere enters, you know that you’re in for a treat. The song constantly morphs and brings different atmospheres to the fore, aided by Devilish’s venomous vocal delivery that breathes fire and brimstone. And within the often blastbeat-whipped inferno, subtle guitar melodies lace through the razor-sharp strands, adding to the underlying epic and majestic atmosphere of many of the songs.
The agonized screams in “Černá Aura” and the big explosion that follows the wall of guitar sound and huge riff of “Z Jícnů Propastí” are just examples of how CULT OF FIRE manage to reach maximum effect with minimal use of these samples instead of drenching their sound with them. And within the atmosphere and the use of classic riffs and rhythms lies the connection to ROOT and MASTER’S HAMMER, yet far more firmly rooted within the rich Black Metal soil of Eastern Europe.
The band seems to be also developing a quite extravagant stageshow, which going with the band photos, seems to be going down a comparable route to bands such as GHOST and PORTAL, which should be a sight to behold.
“Triumvirát” has this special aura that only few bands manage to get into their music and probably will quickly build up a cult following in the wake of the other Czech greats and add another colourful spot of blackness to the rich Eastern European Metal map.
(Online January 30, 2013)