Forget the usual corpse painting and church burnings: this talented American band is here to offer us pure Black Metal music.
Let’s talk about Black Metal, but not about those groups that care more about maintaining an impeccable corpse painting or setting fire to churches than actually playing their instruments to generate entertaining extreme music. The focus here is on the good Black Metal band Isenblåst, from Detroit, Michigan, United States, and their recently released EP Unleashing The Demon Scourge, and you’ll see you don’t need any black-and-white makeup or blazing torches to be a badass band.
Formed in 2009 by singer/guitarist Chronolith and guitarist Lord Kaiser, Isenblåst display a huge influence from the beginnings of the rich Scandinavian Black Metal, with bands like Burzum, Enslaved and Satyricon being among their main influences, but also incorporating lots of early Death Metal elements to their musicality in order to sound at the same time more chaotic and melodic. If you listen to their 2010 demo Isenblåst and to their 2013 cassette Forest of Frost, it will be really easy to notice the evolution in their music in Unleashing the Demon Scourge.
As soon as you hit “play”, you’ll be assaulted by the very raw and brutal Black Metal in the opening track A Fire of Knowledge and Power, a song with insane blast beats conducted by drummer Abominater, lots of guitar shredding and, of course, vocals as desperate as possible by Chronolith. And you know what? It sounds really cool, far from being annoying or cheesy like many “true” Black Metal bands.
The title-track, Unleashing the Demon Scourge, has a very satanic instrumental, especially its excellent Black and Death Metal riffs, which together with some hints of Hardcore and Punk Rock give it a more melodic aspect than usual Black Metal. In addition, The Latin (or whatever language that is) used in the lyrics (“Ati me peta babka / Ea, usmi nuru / Usmi la atzu / Lu daku me”) ends up being an extra touch of darkness to the song.
Nocturnal Offering, with its musicality similar to Emperor, Immortal and other classic bands, offers the listener a good guitar solo nicely blended with the sick rhythm imposed by drummer Abominater, with its “thrashy” second part reminding me of some old Slayer songs such as “Criminally Insane” and “Reborn”, which in my opinion helps this song sound extremely enjoyable and consequently become the best of the EP. The fourth and last track of the EP is called Seven Gates, and although it’s more violent than the other tracks, with its vocal lines being as beastly as possible, it’s not just noise: all musicians make sure their music is audible and solid, as you can see by the excellent guitar solo by the end of the song.
In summary, forget about corpse painting, church burning and all other of those “traditional” things: if you’re a fan of good-quality extreme music, the Black Metal by Isenblåst might be a very interesting addition to your music collection. So go to their official BandCamp page, take a listen at some of their songs, purchase the EP and embrace the wickedness of Black Metal music.
Best moments of the album: Nocturnal Offering.
Worst moments of the album: Let’s wait for their full-length album to do so.
Released in 2014 In Satan’s Custody / Demon Breath Productions
1. A Fire of Knowledge and Power 4:38
2. Unleashing the Demon Scourge 6:02
3. Nocturnal Offering 5:36
4. Seven Gates 4:33
Chronolith – vocals, guitar
Lord Kaiser – guitar
Mars – bass
Abominater – drums