CD Review: Cultic - Of Fire & Sorcery
- Written by: Claudia Black
Title: Of Fire & Sorcery
Genre: Death Metal / Doom Metal / Dungeon Synth
Release Date: 22nd April 2022
Label: Eleventh Key
Today I am reviewing the new album by CULTIC, a Doom Death Black Metal and Dungeon Synth duo from York, Pennsylvania in the US of A. They comprise of husband-and-wife Rebecca Magar on drums and Brian Magar on guitars, keyboards along with Reese Harlacker on bass. ‘Of Fire & Sorcery’ is their second release after fantasy-based, Battle-Death / Doom / Punk-Metal debut ‘High Command’ was released in 2019, a conceptual album telling an archetypal story of rival powers - strength, will and dominance. This album offers up some psychedelic travelling through a world where “magic and might are paramount”.
Well, for starters it sounds like TRIPTYKON crossed with CELTIC FROST and CULT OF FIRE. It’s heavy, heavy, light and then again very heavy. I find it heavy going in places and I feel like I will come to a stonking halt due to the sleaviness! Sleaviness? Yeah, I just made the word up! And, this would be fitting as the soundtrack to a homemade Psychedelic horror fantasy B-Movie recorded on grainy film with over-saturated colour! It’'s also bombastically gritty marmalade sludge, a swamp thing of an album with the southern bayou stench to boot.
‘Warlock’ is delivered with thick gloopy vocals that pan from stereo to the left speaker and end with a pulsed chant devoid of sharp edges. ‘Sentenced’ begins with Celtic Carnyx overtures and bombast. I can see the heads of these brass beasts as they pierce the mists on the battlefields. Before morphing into the usual death sludge riffing of ‘The Tower’. When lightness comes it’s in the form of horns beeping from the shadows, or should I say peering with wariness from the shadows like denizens of the darkness peering around trees looking for danger. The track ‘Iron Castle’ comes in two versions. The five-minute version which is kind of groovy. I’m kind of happy listening to this. Like I’m covered from head to foot in thick black oil but I don’t care cos I’m dancing in it with no care to the fact that any moment someone could throw a match into the igneous blackness.
The 2nd version is 12 minutes long and takes a bit of time to wind itself up. It starts where the previous version left off and increases in volume. Horns and drums thrash and blow like a marble whizzing around the rim of a bowl, refusing to sink to the bottom, and then they do, into silence. A silence which lasts for the next 10 minutes or so. Sorry, what was the point of this track? To rest my ears before the final ear canal onslaught? Final track ‘Iron Spider’ resumes the sludge but with a Punk vein to it. This track is an in-joke about an iron spider that resides in the band’s lawn, apparently. One that emerges when they’ve smoked a few special cigarettes, I assume?
What can I say? This is what it is! Doomy sludgy death black metal. It’s heavy on the shoulders and heavy on the ears and it gets you bending over with your hands on your knees shaking your long locks of hair like shaking a mop after cleaning the floor before straightening yourself up for a tote on one of those special cigarettes! I don’t dislike and nor do I like this in abundance. It depends on my mood.
01. Mystical Exaltation
02. Beseech The Olden Throne
03. Weaver Deceiver
05. Invoking The Dragon
08. The Tower
09. Leering From The Pinnacle
10. Iron Castle
11. Iron Castle Redux
12. Iron Spider
Brian Magar – Guitar, vocals, keyboard, and arrangements
Rebecca Magar – Drums
Reese Harlacker – Bass
Guest Vocals on ‘Potion’ by Jason Schlossman (Vormund) and Steve Dietz (Melancholic)
Guest Vocals on ‘The Tower’ by Bobby Yagodich (Verminoth)
Total: 6.5 / 10
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