Cult of Fire - Triumvirát
Demonhood Productions
Atmospheric Black Metal
9 songs (57:49)
Release year: 2012
Cult of Fire, Demonhood Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Despite 2013 having already squashed its murderous face up against my window in a determined effort to unsettle me with the knowledge of a new year's weight of incoming metal, I'm still chasing down the lost gems of 2012 that I didn't manage to cover in the year. Czech occultists Cult Of Fire are one such band (this being Demonhood Productions' official release of the band's debut full-length from earlier in the year) which almost went completely unnoticed by your humble reviewer until a chance email clear-out revealed it. Melodic and darkly atmospheric, Cult Of Fire have created a killer first album. It's quite a revelation, especially considering the general lack of appreciation for Czech black metal. As you might expect, glimpses of greats like countrymen Root and Master's Hammer are present (and given hat-tips in the for-once-accurate promotional information!) but Cult Of Fire are most definitely their own beast. The members bring a range of influences to bear; guitarist Infernal Vlad and drummer Tomáš Corn having played on Maniac Butcher's last album, and Corn is also a member of Lykathea Aflame, having drummed on the mini-classic Elvenefris album, a personal favourite and a jewel prized by progressive death metal fans everywhere.

So what can you expect from Triumvirát? A sterling black metal experience, atmospheric yet riff-fuelled, modern in scope yet very traditional in skin-blasting fury. Songs are varied and interesting, keeping the mood yet unafraid to experiment. Opener Závěť Světu sets the mood with ghostly keyboards before launching into raging blastbeats, calming briefly down for occult church organs and epic spoken word, before returning to the blasting. And Cult Of Fire are never content to merely blast, underpinning their raging with thoughtfully atmospheric melodies that will please the heart of black metal devotees of all types. Almost symphonic in terms of sheer grandiose effect, it's an arresting opening to an excellent album that never fails to interest and excite. The Root influence is at its highest on cuts like Satan Mentor, an intense homage to The Man Downstairs, whilst the darkly buzzing psychedelia of Černá Aura is a personal highlight, with hints of Blut Aus Nord in the whirring riffing, given shape with backing hellish shrieks before dying down to ambient strings and breathy grunts like a demented 70s horror film score. There's touches of both NWOBHM and Ukrainian widescreen pastoral exploration to the (literally) explosive Z Jícnů Propastí, whilst the strident grandiosity of Horizont Temnoty is stunning, epic Emperor-like synth lines beneath the guitars lifting your spirits as the band evolve the song into a prog-tinged riffarama.

It's really impossible to fault the songwriting, already expert at this stage but sure to get only better as the band bring their various influences even tighter into the unique vision shown here. Little touches like Sluhové Věčného's wild soloing shows the band's metal capabilities, but it's how they use elements like this that is really praiseworthy, and helps make this such a good listen. Worth mentioning in closing that this is a quality package; in addition to the Triumvirát album itself you get the band's 2011 EP 20:11 as bonus tracks, so this contains (as far as I can tell) their entire recorded output. The bonus tracks are a bit rawer, but are just as good, proving Cult Of Fire's knack with atmosphere is no fluke (there's some ghastly shrieking on Návrat Zářného Zla that proves surprisingly capable of sending chills up and down my spine) and showing the beginnings of the reaching, experimental mindset that makes Triumvirát such a joy. Highly recommended for fans of Eastern European black metal looking for a new band to love.

Killing Songs :
Závěť Světu, Černá Aura, Horizont Temnoty, Z Jícnů Propastí
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Cult of Fire that we have reviewed:
Cult of Fire - Nirvana reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Cult of Fire - Moksha reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Cult of Fire - Ctvrta Symfonie Ohne reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Cult of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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