Cult of Fire hails from Prague in the Czech Republic, and is considered one of the most important names in the Epic Black Metal world. Formed in 2010 as a three piece consisting of guitarist/vocalist Infernal Vlad (Death Karma), vocalist Devilish (Dark Storm), and drummer Tom Coroner (Lykathea Aflame, ex-Imperial Foeticide), the band wasted little time as far as writing material was concerned. 2011 saw the release of their first EP 20:11, followed by the debut full-length Triumvirát a year later. In 2013, the group changed things up a bit upon signing with Iron Bonehead Productions by incorporating the Sanskrit alphabet into everything from song titles to the band logo, which was originally done with the Theban alphabet, as well as the name of their follow-up album ?????? ?? ????? ????????. Now, for 2014, Cult of Fire present two brand new compositions for a sond EP titled ?tvrtá Symfonie Ohn?. But is it up to par with the band's well received previous outings, or is it a wasted opportunity?

"Vltava" starts off slow, but the Middle Eastern cleaner hooks make it just as grand an entrance as the halfway point becomes. By then the drums reach their peak, blasting away with machine gun precision with a large gong being struck in the background, adding a great deal of emphasis to this powerful instrumental that sends you on a grand journey across the deserts with your fellow marauders. This hot, tense performance will have you on the edge of your seat better than any major Hollywood blockbuster adventure could this day and age, but the Arabian days turn into nights shortly after with "Vàh". The water starts to pour slowly, as if run-off from a stream finding the ledge of a hill as a storm hits, cooling the terrain down for the first two minutes. This atmosphere remains alive in the faster Black Metal performance that, while incredibly relaxing thanks to the echoed chords that present a bit of an eighties vibe with Depressive Black Metal values, it manages to skirt the line between sad and emotional leads when not being abrasive enough to keep you on your toes.

?tvrtá Symfonie Ohn? is one of those rare instrumental releases that manages to illicit a wide range of emotions without ever coming off as if the band is even trying to get that sort of reaction from the listener, which is pretty damn impressive in its own right. Moving from day to night is simply one song away, as well as a simple flip of the vinyl. One minute your racing across the desert, and the next relaxing at an oasis as a storm washes all your cares and desires away. Every little piece to Cult of Fire's sound works together flawlessly to create these grand audio landscapes that even some of the most seasoned Progressive Rock virtuosos fail to accomplish. If you have yet to hear this criminally underrated Black Metal three-piece, ?tvrtá Symfonie Ohn? is easily one of the best places to start.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review.