Cult Of Fire CoverA divine mother to the enlightened and a ferocious killer to those fearful of death, the Hindu goddess Kali is a figure of reverence and terror alike – a being that is by all accounts complex, mystical and arcane. What better genre to pay tribute to the Divine Mother than the fearsome majesty and ritual violence of black metal? Cult of Fire, hailing from the Czech Republic, move away from done-to-death “orthodox” Satanism obnoxiousness on their second album मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान (Ascetic Meditation of Death) in favor of focussing on Hindi mythology, creating an album that is entirely dedicated to this most fearsome of Hindi goddesses.

One would think that the heady subject matter would call for a black metal sound akin to such arcane artisans of dissonance Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord, but Cult of Fire surprisingly make very few tweaks to the black metal style. The album is introduced with “संहार रक्त काली,” which lures the listener in with a sinister-sounding sitar before careening into a familiar sounding blitzkrieg of blastbeats, repetitive tremolo riffing and hoarse snarls. It’s generic and predictable at first glance, but further listens reveal a band that is comfortable and more than adept within the genre constraints they confine themselves within.

Cult of Fire play a black metal that’s savage and melodic in equal measures, but perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the album is how listenable it is. Tracks like“काली मां” (track 4) and “खण्ड मण्ड योग” (track 7) toss out pseudo-Wagnerian synth choir cheesiness for a shimmering Hammond organ that has no business working as well as it does while the band rages over it all with bafflingly uplifting – yet muscular – guitar riffing.

87The aforementioned 4th track overflows with grandiosity and triumphant melodicism that’s almost comforting to listen to, and “मृत्यु ही सत्य है” (track 5) propels itself into battle with riffing that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Windir album before that Hammond organ strikes again and brings the song to a cheery climax. Last track “दिव्य प्रेम की ज्वाला से दग्ध” even eschews metal entirely towards the end in favor of a 3 minute sitar respite, ending the album on a comforting, meditative note.

Ascetic Meditation… is hardly the most innovative or challenging black metal album to explore esoteric religious themes, but with the amount of craft and vigor that Cult of Fire offer in its stead, I’m compelled not to care one bit. By all accounts, Cult of Fire’s only objective is to give thanks and praises to the Divine Mother Kali that only the firebrand energy of black metal in its classic form can achieve. It is undeniably formulaic, but the album is more of a celebration of the genre conventions of black metal than it is a fall-back out of a lack of anything new to offer. Cult of Fire are confident and comfortable in their own skin, and clearly couldn’t give a damn whether or not they’re perceived as generic or predictable in an over-saturated metal environment. What could be more uniquely black metal than that? [What I want to know is how you did those symbols on a keyboard??Steel Druhm]

Rating: 3.5/5.0
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Websites: CultofFire |
Release Dates: Out Worldwide on 2013.11.30

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  • Francesco Bordoni

    Hindu writing must the apex of KVLTness,
    goddamnit! (Also good review, I’m checking this one out :F)

  • HinduMetalGuy

    Song titles like Slaughter Blood Kali, The Only Truth is Death, and Burnt by The Love of God? I’m fucking sold…!

    • Shahir Chagan

      Well at least you can read Hindi!

  • Shahir Chagan

    Just because of the Hindu style of this album (and my interest in the Hindu goddess of destruction), I’m eager to check it out. Oh and I guess the review was good too :P

    P.S. Why the heck haven’t people from India tried making something like this yet?!

    • The Metal Pigeon

      I’ve looked into a lot of metal from India and its always a mix/match of American and Euro styles. I think whats going on there is that the metal “scene” or musician community is so fragmented and disarrayed throughout the country that they’re having a hard time getting proper bands together (and stuck together long enough). When it does work out they want to do the first thing they’ve been craving to do which is sound like their musical heroes/inspirations.

      Basically, I think that one of the bands there needs to find some marginal success with lineup stability, interest both domestically and internationally, and a chance to build up an artistic identity of their own without having to spend so much time/energy on the technical and logistical aspects of being in a band in a country that does not have the infrastructure for it. (Lack of venues to play, lack of paved roads and rentable vehicles to tour with).

      • The Metal Pigeon

        Also the music industry of India is essentially all tied into the Bollywood film industry, there really are little to no musicians/artists (even pop artists) that exist on their own like we have in the States or Europe like your Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc, etc). Even the “pop hits” over there are done by studio musicians/producers/ vocalists which are then mimed by film stars within the movies themselves. So yeah, that’s the music industry there —- it really doesn’t exist as we know it here.

        • Shahir Chagan

          As a person with Indian family, I do know (more or less) the workings of the Bollywood industry and how their music works. You do get your ‘pop’ stars (singers who get big hits) but as you said, it’s mostly by session musicians and made famous by film. Unless it’s qawwali or traditional music, that’s usually the case. And in recent years, their music industry is being fully ‘westernized’ to sound like Western pop / dance music.
          The rock musicians in India get less recognition, but still manage to get famous and get large followings due to the massive population.
          I do see your point about the poverty issue, although I’m just curious why a bunch of guys haven’t recorded a black metal album like this, for instance. Black metal is traditionally lo-fi, contains satanism or occult themes and usually don’t require or do tours. Y’know, like many of them ‘bedroom black metallers’.
          It reminds me of the scene here in South Africa, very fragmented and not cohesive. Although we do have some good musicians and an upper edge on the wealth scale.

          • The Metal Pigeon

            I think India is at a tipping point in terms of rock and metal fans there, the shows that have been happening there since 2005 with all sorts of international bands coming over has only increased in frequency. Iron Maiden’s success over there comes to mind, but lately even a band as left field as Tegan and Sara has been received well there (not metal I know). I think there’s a huge groundswell building up of people there who are bored, tired, or disinterested with Bollywood bred music and culture.

            As for the bands themselves…. eh… I found Kryptos interesting but merely being a competent metal band isn’t much to rave about. There’s a lot of rough, sketchy death metal bands that aren’t really doing anything remarkable. But its all relatively new so I’m just hoping some unique artistic voices will start shining through, hopefully by that time the growing scene and international attention will be there for them to capitalize and make a great record.

    • Dipankar

      Well the concepts of the so called hindu left hand path are a little distorted on the album. Great album musically though. You can hear strains of dissection in the album as well.

  • I have been trying to get my hands this album for weeks. Even contacted the band, so far no luck.

    • No promo love for you, eh?

      • The label that was listed through one notable site led me completely astray. I contacted them and they literally said, “City of Who?” LOL.

        • SatanMyMaster

          I think they released it through Iron-Bonhead Productions? They have a european web-store with some in stock idk if that is helpful

          • Thanks SM^2! Let me talk to them!

  • Игорь Чернов

    artwork is pure awesomeness, and the symbols.. really even browser show me something like a regular tetragon, in fact – question remains open – HOW?! (it’s kind of god damn magic i suppose, heh)

    • Евгений Корнев

      not just “simple magic” you bastard! HINDU MAGIC MUAHAH!!

    • SatanMyMaster

      They just translated their song titles to sanskrit – I think it adds a cool aesthetic to the album, though.

  • Feytalist

    So yeah, the review makes this sound amazing. If I can even *get* it over here, I’ll check it out. Really interesting concept. If they can pull it off, kudos to them.

    (Okay, honestly, it was the mention of the Hammond organ that sold me :D)

    I’m also flabbergasted by the script in my browser window. 0_o

    • JFWilliams

      Appreciate it, friend. I think the entire album is streaming via Brooklyn Vegan if you’re having trouble finding a physical copy.