Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Iskald : "Nedom og Nord"

Iskald means ice cold in Norse, and as far a Norwegian Black metal goes forming in 2005 puts these guys as being newer kids on the block. They play melodic black metal, that is well written and has enough dark and creepy ring into the guitars to draw my ears in. It's well produced not unlike Immortal in this regard. There is nothing cult here, the blasting is kept to a groove laden middle gallop. Much like Immortal this is very thrash laced and would be a good entry point for someone trying to find a listener friendly gateway into black metal.
The opener uses more restraint than you would expect from this sort of thing, and in a year where their doesn't appear to be a lot of black metal on the horizon, I think this album is going to be welcomed among the fans , and the timing of it's release is going to play into this band's favor.

"Underworldy" is a nice frosty blend of propulsion and speed , balanced out by the melodic nature of  the riff-age here. While the Immortal comparison abound, there's touches of older Enslaved and Vried is lacing the edges. The vocals stay in a midrange rasp dipping down a note here and there into more of a death metal growl.The cool riffs don't make a song rule is still intact though these guys take a swing with their maces at crushing the theory.

Not a big fan of bands that name songs after themselves, it's done here and the song dips into a more contemplative melodic side at first before springing back into the furious blackened thrash that seems to gain momentum as the album progresses. When the band gets caught up in the blur of speed they create, they tend to loses me until the guitar find more meat to stick to. These guys are no doubt great players, the guitar playing here is where this band shines, though the very melodic phrasing of the bass is welcomed as bass tend to not make it's presence as known in this sort of thing. The synths at the end are well used to create the dynamic build.

"The Silence" comes out of the gate with mcnastiness. This diminishes the dynamic capabilities of the band as the first minute and a half of the song is a blur.The riffs that shift almost endlessly in these songs are very intricate in their arrangement. Composition is the strong point to the song writing here. The lyrical content being the weaker polarity. The band retraces its steps in the snow to find the more epic strengths in "Nidingsdad" the double bass here handles the under current of speed allowing the guitar to soar over it.They continue to hit you with a lot of detailed riffage. The guitar playing on this album is some of the best I heard from a band of their ilk since Enslaved. The vocal patterns are on the other hand rather bland. They do layer clean vocals with the harsh vocals ,to create an even more Enslaved feel, this is not idol worship as it captures a sound of their own.

The title track closes out the album, it holds off on some of the speed, instead weaving the web of riffs.They don't hold off too long on the blast but as a brief interval for the solo to lay over it works. Its when the clean guitar floats in under the harsh vocals for a minute that I'm surprised and this is something I wish they would have built upon rather than defaulting to a more traditional approach. The folky guitar close to the seven minute mark is a nice touch and gives a more Moonsorrow feel.

I'll give this album an 8, it might grow on me, the vocal patterns and the default modes it sometimes reverts to were the only draw backs on my end, in a time where you are starving for black metal, this goes above and beyond just being satisfying into some excellently crafted black metal.

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