CULTIC “Of Fire And Sorcery”

By Dr. Abner Mality

I remember checking out this Pennsylvania band’s prior offering “High Command” and not being too impressed, even though their hearts were in the right place. I’m happy to say, “Of Fire and Sorcery” is an improvement all around and delivers a grim and primitive combination of gnarly death-doom and dungeon synth.

The album has a wonderfully grimy and low-fi production that hearkens back to pre-internet days of cassette demos. Sometimes that can be really overdone, but CULTIC hits it just right, as the riffs keep their power but the overall feeling is of something that just crawled out of a crypt. The HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST influences are undeniable, but there’s also a strong current of doom in the CONAN/ELECTRIC WIZARD vein. Most striking are the vocals, which are drenched in echoey effects and reverb, creating an aura that is very oldschool and uncanny.

The music splits almost equally into dreary, forlorn dungeon synth pieces like “Mystical Exaltation” and “Sentenced” and then oozing, crushing death/doom epics like “Beseech the Olden Throne” and “Warlock” that are based on simple but powerful riffs. Occasionally there’s a kind of symphonic type synth effect that adds a barbaric atmosphere...think of FROST’s “Innocence and Wrath”...and also huge gong strikes. The overarching feeling is of something primitive, menacing and mystical.

Well worth investigating if you yearn for the eldritch days of doomy death metal…