Rating:
8.7
Cult Of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान
30 November 2013


01. संहार रक्त काली
02. अस्तित्व की चिता पर
03. शव साधना
04. काली मां
05. मृत्यु ही सत्य है
06. मृत्यु का वीभत्स नृत्य
07. खण्ड मण्ड योग
08. दिव्य प्रेम की ज्वाला से दग्ध


Eastern influences in rock-derived forms of music have come quite a long way since the days of George Harrison and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. With metal in its modern state, we definitely have plenty of bands that follow suit (Nile, Melechesh, and Rudra, to name a few). The problem I find with a lot of this Eastern-infused metal, however, is that the metal almost always seems to trump the Eastern elements, and being the Oriental f̶a̶n̶a̶t̶i̶c̶ ̶ nerd that I am, I find myself looking for bands that strike more of a 50/50 balance between the two. This year, I was lucky enough to get my wish, in the form of Cult Of Fire's sophomore release मृत्यु का तापसी (that's "Ascetic Meditation Of Death," for all you heathen bastards who have not yet mastered the holy Sanskrit).

With their 2013 effort, Cult Of Fire fully immerse themselves in the themes behind their music to a degree that almost comes across as slightly transcendental. Right off the bat, these Czechs drag you deep into a world of Vedic rites and ancestral Hindu deities, and there's no turning back from there. On the one hand, मृत्यु का तापसी is firmly grounded in a very powerful and well-executed folk atmosphere (sitar, native percussion, clean chants), easily rivaling Negură Bunget at some of their best moments (check out the first track, or the closer, in particular). These elements are somehow always delivered in a way that makes them feel highly genuine and believable, almost as though you're not really listening to a black metal band in 2013, but to an Indian tribe of a bygone past. They send you places, to say the least.

At the same time, मृत्यु का तापसी is indeed a black metal album at its core, and this sound more or less dominates. Cult Of Fire, however, certainly don't adhere to the typical formulas of the genre, and have a very interesting way of employing song structures similar to some of their contemporaries, whilst at the same time retaining their own identity. The riffing on this new output, for example, is for the most part quite groovy and at times even catchy, conjuring thoughts of Nachtmystium during their Black Meddle era (Track 2 and Track 7, notably). In addition, the album also has some guitar leads here and there that are quite minimalist and melody-centered, reminiscent of The Meads Of Asphodel's style (Track 4, Track 6). But no matter the correlation to other bands, Cult Of Fire still maintain a sense of distinction, a feeling that the music they create is unquestionably their own.

Furthermore, मृत्यु का तापसी is without question one of the best composed (if not entirely original) black metal albums of the year. The folk and extreme elements balance themselves out almost flawlessly, and there's a strong sense that Cult Of Fire embrace Eastern culture because they're truly interested in it, not just for a useful band image, which certainly lends them a higher degree of respect than your average group. Listen to Slayer and worship Satan? Forget that nonsense, listen to Cult Of Fire and praise Kali! *Note: she's right there on the album cover, to make it easy for you.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Cult Of Fire
Album: मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान


 



Written on 23.11.2013 by
Apothecary
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a master. But without innovation, it is a corpse."
-Winston Churchill
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Hermann Langke - 23.11.2013 at 04:35  
Thanks for posting this review, brother! I am from India and it's heartening to see Indian culture and lore being incorporated into Metal!
3rdWorld - 23.11.2013 at 08:54  
The only reason I got interested in this band initially is because Tomas Corn of Lykathea Aflame plays here since I thought none of the members are active now in any project. WIll have to check this out to see how good this is.

And I think the Goddess in the artwork is Kali, I don't see Shiva there unless you refer to the one she is seen atop.
Cynic Metalhead - 23.11.2013 at 09:42  
Lord Shiva is the second time I have seen using in artwork or any other image used for selling records i suppose. The first time Shiva used on web is in Family guy where Jesus mocking Shiva on Christmas eve.

Terrific album. I heard couple of tracks and sounds amazing. As far brushing off knowledge on Sanskrit is concerned, tracks 1,6,7,8 has Sanskrit words. Rest is plain simple Hindi.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 10:07  
Written by 3rdWorld on 23.11.2013 at 08:54

And I think the Goddess in the artwork is Kali, I don't see Shiva there unless you refer to the one she is seen atop.

Pretty sure it's Shiva. The circle with the flames on it is behind him, which you usually see in his Nataraja form. There's also his trident and the fact that there are cobras dangling on his arms. Snakes are symbolic of kundalini, the "base serpent" energy that Hinduism teaches lies at the base of the spine to be activated during meditation, and Shiva is usually referred to as the "Lord Of Yoga."
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 10:09  
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 23.11.2013 at 09:42

Lord Shiva is the second time I have seen using in artwork or any other image used for selling records i suppose. The first time Shiva used on web is in Family guy where Jesus mocking Shiva on Christmas eve.

Terrific album. I heard couple of tracks and sounds amazing. As far brushing off knowledge on Sanskrit is concerned, tracks 1,6,7,8 has Sanskrit words. Rest is plain simple Hindi.

The Sanskrit thing was more a joke than anything else, but thanks for the tip, interesting to know. And with Family Guy, that was Vishnu, not Shiva.
Cynic Metalhead - 23.11.2013 at 10:19  
Oh yeah its Vishnu not Shiva. Got confused.
hiron - 23.11.2013 at 11:13  
People, please don't get so confused... as 3rdWorld has already stated, the artwork clearly depicts Kali sitting atop Shiva. Kali and Shiva are very closely related. And also, please have a closer look at the femininity depicted in the picture. You can always check out Wikipedia for more information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali
Mr. Doctor - 23.11.2013 at 12:23  
I would definitely not put Melechesh in the same level as Nile. As Craig pointed out once: Nile are those nerds that love that eastern stuff and force those tunes into their death metal. Melechesh ARE the eastern stuff and put metal into it, not the other way around. I think they do have a pretty good balance just like this album (Rudra isn't so far behind either). Melechesh might not use unusual instruments all the time (they do it every now and then though) but pretty much all their riffs and many drum patterns are played in the appropriate scales of the region. So using special vocals and instruments is not the only way to achieve that particular sound.
3rdWorld - 23.11.2013 at 14:02  
Written by Apothecary on 23.11.2013 at 10:07

Written by 3rdWorld on 23.11.2013 at 08:54

And I think the Goddess in the artwork is Kali, I don't see Shiva there unless you refer to the one she is seen atop.

Pretty sure it's Shiva. The circle with the flames on it is behind him, which you usually see in his Nataraja form. There's also his trident and the fact that there are cobras dangling on his arms. Snakes are symbolic of kundalini, the "base serpent" energy that Hinduism teaches lies at the base of the spine to be activated during meditation, and Shiva is usually referred to as the "Lord Of Yoga."

If its Shiva in Nataraja form it sure wouldn't (or maybe shouldn't) be a posture of him sitting. Also the Garland of skulls, a sword, a trident, blood in one hand (classically a bowl) and the naked form (see the female boobs, unless its a female deptiction of Shiva) suggest Kali more. Notice the absence of the serpent around the neck which Shiva will have even though I accept that Shiva has in some rare forms wears a garland of skulls instead. This artwork though is more in resemblance of Kali than Shiva tbh.
Hex_Omega - 23.11.2013 at 14:08  
Best album title ever.
3rdWorld - 23.11.2013 at 14:14  
Written by hiron on 23.11.2013 at 11:13

People, please don't get so confused... as 3rdWorld has already stated, the artwork clearly depicts Kali sitting atop Shiva. Kali and Shiva are very closely related. And also, please have a closer look at the femininity depicted in the picture. You can always check out Wikipedia for more information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali

Indeed it is Kali. And the the word काली (Pronounced "Kali" in Hindi script, fyi Apo) present in the title of the tracks 1 & 4 should give more proof for that. Moreover, Kali is the more badass among Hindu divinities , perfect for death or divine destruction themes even more so than Shiva himself, the lord of destruction.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 14:30  
Written by 3rdWorld on 23.11.2013 at 14:14

Indeed it is Kali. And the the word काली (Pronounced "Kali" in Hindi script, fyi Apo) present in the title of the tracks 1 & 4 should give more proof for that. Moreover, Kali is the more badass among Hindu divinities , perfect for death or divine destruction themes even more so than Shiva himself, the lord of destruction.

Alright, looks like I stand corrected
Really wish I could fix that in the review now though... anyway, indeed, Kali is pretty interesting. I recall a myth about how she was originally Parvati, Shiva's wife. Then one day a demon, Raktajira, who had been granted a wish where every drop of his blood spilled would create a thousand clones of him, starting terrorizing Parvati's followers. Rage turned her into Kali, she basically went on a killing spree until every demon had been destroyed, and in the end it was Shiva himself who finally had to calm her down and turn her back into Parvati. Pretty metal.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 14:34  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.11.2013 at 12:23

I would definitely not put Melechesh in the same level as Nile. As Craig pointed out once: Nile are those nerds that love that eastern stuff and force those tunes into their death metal. Melechesh ARE the eastern stuff and put metal into it, not the other way around. I think they do have a pretty good balance just like this album (Rudra isn't so far behind either). Melechesh might not use unusual instruments all the time (they do it every now and then though) but pretty much all their riffs and many drum patterns are played in the appropriate scales of the region. So using special vocals and instruments is not the only way to achieve that particular sound.

Wasn't really thinking about from what musical background those bands originally came. All I meant with that sentence was to use some examples of ones who've fused the two styles, no more to it really.
And I agree, folk-style instruments and vocals aren't the only way to achieve the sound, but they're certainly the most effective, I think at least
3rdWorld - 23.11.2013 at 14:46  
Written by Apothecary on 23.11.2013 at 14:30

I recall a myth about how she was originally Parvati, Shiva's wife. Then one day a demon, Raktajira, who had been granted a wish where every drop of his blood spilled would create a thousand clones of him, starting terrorizing Parvati's followers. Rage turned her into Kali, she basically went on a killing spree until every demon had been destroyed, and in the end it was Shiva himself who finally had to calm her down and turn her back into Parvati.

Sounds like a conspiracy theory.

Btw, brilliant review and this atleast made me more interesting than when Joe said that their sound resembles bits of Fen, Drudkh, Meads etc.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 15:21  
Written by 3rdWorld on 23.11.2013 at 14:46

This at least made me more interesting than when Joe said that their sound resembles bits of Fen, Drudkh, Meads etc.

Well he does have a point there. As I mentioned in the review, these guys have a way of incorporating certain song structures that remind you of some of these other bands, while at the same time sounding nothing like them at all and still retaining a distinctly Cult Of Fire identity. That's really what makes this such an excellent release, in my opinion. There's a sense that they've been able to learn from their contemporaries without becoming outright clones of them.
Mr. Doctor - 23.11.2013 at 16:11  
Written by Apothecary on 23.11.2013 at 14:34
And I agree, folk-style instruments and vocals aren't the only way to achieve the sound, but they're certainly the most effective, I think at least


I disgaree on that. I think it's far more effective to use scales that belong to that music than forcing folk instruments with a crowbar in riffs that are otherwise, metal to the core.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 16:31  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 23.11.2013 at 16:11

I think it's far more effective to use scales that belong to that music than forcing folk instruments with a crowbar in riffs that are otherwise, metal to the core.

Well that's where being a good composer comes in, and knowing how to structure the folk instruments around the metal so as not to seem odd, and to convey a sort of natural flow, which is exactly what's going on with this album. The same can be said for bands like Negura Bunget, or A Forest Of Stars. I also think if you're a particularly great songwriter, you eventually learn how to go back and forth with it, ya know? Folk instruments can certainly be played in a way that suggests a "metal" tone, and vice versa.
Matus Dust - 23.11.2013 at 16:56  
Woah, who would have thought this would have czech lyrics.
Apothecary - 23.11.2013 at 17:27  
Written by Matus Dust on 23.11.2013 at 16:56

Woah, who would have thought this would have czech lyrics.

How do you figure that?
Matus Dust - 23.11.2013 at 18:00  
Written by Apothecary on 23.11.2013 at 17:27

Written by Matus Dust on 23.11.2013 at 16:56

Woah, who would have thought this would have czech lyrics.

How do you figure that?


I speak the language.
ScreamingSteelUS - 24.11.2013 at 06:32  
Written by Matus Dust on 23.11.2013 at 18:00

Written by Apothecary on 23.11.2013 at 17:27

Written by Matus Dust on 23.11.2013 at 16:56

Woah, who would have thought this would have czech lyrics.

How do you figure that?


I speak the language.

There is also the fact that Cult of Fire is from the Czech Republic, so that probably has something to do with it.
Destructo - 24.11.2013 at 06:47  
I'm Indian, so I guess a translation of the song titles might help:

Album: Death's Ascetic Contemplation

Song Titles:

01. संहार रक्त काली - Blood Destruction Kali
02. अस्तित्व की चिता पर - On The Corpse Of Existence
03. शव साधना - Corpse Worship
04. काली मां - Kali Maa (Mother Kali)
05. मृत्यु ही सत्य है - Death Is The Only Truth
06. मृत्यु का वीभत्स नृत्य - The Morbid Dance Of Death
07. खण्ड मण्ड योग - Scrap Ornament Meditation
08. दिव्य प्रेम की ज्वाला से दग्ध - Burnt In The Flames Of Divine Love

Cheers !!!
Apothecary - 25.11.2013 at 20:59  
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 24.11.2013 at 06:32

There is also the fact that Cult of Fire is from the Czech Republic, so that probably has something to do with it.

Non-English speaking bands don't always write in their native languages
Apothecary - 25.11.2013 at 21:01  
Written by Destructo on 24.11.2013 at 06:47

I'm Indian, so I guess a translation of the song titles might help:

Album: Death's Ascetic Contemplation

Song Titles:

01. संहार रक्त काली - Blood Destruction Kali
02. अस्तित्व की चिता पर - On The Corpse Of Existence
03. शव साधना - Corpse Worship
04. काली मां - Kali Maa (Mother Kali)
05. मृत्यु ही सत्य है - Death Is The Only Truth
06. मृत्यु का वीभत्स नृत्य - The Morbid Dance Of Death
07. खण्ड मण्ड योग - Scrap Ornament Meditation
08. दिव्य प्रेम की ज्वाला से दग्ध - Burnt In The Flames Of Divine Love

Cheers !!!

Thanks for the info man, really informative! You can always add that as a note on the page for this album, if you'd like
Troy Killjoy - 26.11.2013 at 00:19  
Written by Apothecary on 25.11.2013 at 20:59
Non-English speaking bands don't always write in their native languages

I think Finntroll is a good example of this.
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.11.2013 at 00:49  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.11.2013 at 00:19

I think Finntroll is a good example of this.

Finntroll aren't a good example of anything
Troy Killjoy - 26.11.2013 at 00:54  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.11.2013 at 00:49
Finntroll aren't a good example of anything

I was only referring to the Swedish-singing Finns aspect, but ya... aside from that they offer very little.
Apothecary - 26.11.2013 at 01:14  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.11.2013 at 00:19

Written by Apothecary on 25.11.2013 at 20:59
Non-English speaking bands don't always write in their native languages

I think Finntroll is a good example of this.

I was thinking more along the lines of Urfaust, actually. From the Netherlands, German lyrics.
Troy Killjoy - 26.11.2013 at 01:17  
Written by Apothecary on 26.11.2013 at 01:14
I was thinking more along the lines of Urfaust, actually. From the Netherlands, German lyrics.

We'll just pretend Finntroll was never mentioned and go with this as the prime example.
Mr. Doctor - 26.11.2013 at 06:51  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.11.2013 at 00:54

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.11.2013 at 00:49
Finntroll aren't a good example of anything

I was only referring to the Swedish-singing Finns aspect, but ya... aside from that they offer very little.


Your example isn't that good anyways since the previous vocalists (who is the one who stills writes the lyrics) is from a part of Findland where swedish is actually the official language.
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.11.2013 at 14:45  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 26.11.2013 at 06:51


Your example isn't that good anyways since the previous vocalists (who is the one who stills writes the lyrics) is from a part of Findland where swedish is actually the official language.

Never heard of Findland, but I suppose no one can find it =P
mz - 26.11.2013 at 15:30  
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.11.2013 at 19:21  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.11.2013 at 00:19

Written by Apothecary on 25.11.2013 at 20:59
Non-English speaking bands don't always write in their native languages

I think Finntroll is a good example of this.



Kursk would be a better example. Like Rod said the vocalist of Finntroll is from a part of Finland where one of the official languages is Swedish, Swedish is the second official language in FInalnd generally. Whereas Russian isn't an official language in Finland at all

But Che's example of Urfaust is actually spot on. Another good example would be Corrupted they are from Japan yet sing in Spanish.
Pennywise - 01.12.2013 at 20:43  
Its better than Rudras new album which is a great sucess since Rudra specialised in this topic and music. The deity on the cover is Kali and not Shiva.
Apothecary - 01.12.2013 at 23:03  
Written by Pennywise on 01.12.2013 at 20:43

Its better than Rudras new album

Agreed, which is saying something because Rudra are pretty top notch to begin with.
ghalib86 - 25.01.2014 at 15:30  
The picture is indeed of Kali with Shiva under her... what makes it pretty obvious is the presence of a crescent moon on his forehead and what seems like a third eye.

The demon Kali destroyed was "Rakt Beej" meaning "Blood Seed." For every single drop of his blood that would fall on the ground, countless clones would appear. Kali overcame this by not letting even a drop to fall down - instead beheading the demon and letting his blood fall into a bowl of fire which would evaporate every last trace of the blood.

The proper translation of the songs would be:

1. संहार रक्त काली (Annihilation Blood Kali)
2. अस्तित्व की चिता पर (On the Funeral Pyre of Existence)
3. शव साधना (Corpse Worship)
4. काली मां (Mother Kali)
5. मृत्यु ही सत्य है (Death Alone is the Truth)
6. मृत्यु का वीभत्स नृत्य (Gruesome Dance of Death)
7. खण्ड मण्ड योग (Battered Skull Yoga)
8. दिव्य प्रेम की ज्वाला से दग्ध (Burned by the Flame of Divine Love)
Apothecary - 25.01.2014 at 15:34  
Written by ghalib86 on 25.01.2014 at 15:30

The demon Kali destroyed was "Rakt Beej" meaning "Blood Seed." For every single drop of his blood that would fall on the ground, countless clones would appear. Kali overcame this by not letting even a drop to fall down - instead beheading the demon and letting his blood fall into a bowl of fire which would evaporate every last trace of the blood.

I'm deeply into the Hindu religion myself, and I gotta say, the mythology behind it is pretty fucking metal

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