Black metal bands have been coming out of the wood work from every corner of the world. In some of these corners you pretty much know what brand of black metal you are going to get. The black metal coming out of northern Europe tends to have the edge in quality though many Finnish black metal bands are into the whole raw and bestial brand that is a little too lo-fi for me. So I was surprised when I checked out Finland's Isengrim because I did not expect such a strong melodic folk metal element going into this. From their they go into something more typical of mainstream melodic black metal. With a clean vocal refrain coming later in the song and a mix of death metal aggression and groove trading off with the blast beats. They end up in Behemoth's back yard with a hooky riff bookended by growls.The punches are in all the right places and the album is very slick production wise.
"Autuas" finds the band in melodic mid pace stomp.At under three minutes it's pretty compact writing for black metal these days. Their use of clean vocals is more dramatic than Enslaved , but not as operatically bombastic as ICS Vortex. Also mid way in things start to become a little formulaic.But even when what they do feels like it's color by numbers, both the color and the numbers are more varied than if they had just hit you with blast beats from start to finish. Granted Some of the punches could almost be on a Kamelot album, so this starts becoming a lighter shade of black metal. They blast into a chaotic mix of folk inspired black metal that jars them from their more formulaic turn and gives the album a much needed dose of dissonance. They close the album out with a more majestic galloping song that brings elements of classic metal and power metal into the mix. This is well handled and is one of the albums stronger songs.
If Behemoth is not black metal enough for you, then these guys should do the trick. Having a affinity for folk metal will certainly help, but is not required. I'll give this album an 8, as it is well polished and masterfully executed.These guys are ready for a larger audience and have made their brand of black metal digestible for the average mainstream metal head who is not already immersed in black metal , which in 2015 it's hard to imagine since it's influence has dripped into every genre , but I'm sure there are kids who still hang out in malls somewhere that have not.