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2012 marks an important year for the American band 'Immolith', because in February their debut album finally hits the shelves. Around three years have passed since their first two outputs – 'Sojourn / Ghost Tower' & 'Hymns to the Countess' – and those who are familiar with these might be surprised by the direction the band has been taken since. Old-school black metal had been the concept on their early outputs, while their latest one has stepped away from this approach in some respect. Is it a change to the better?
The first and most obvious impression has to do with the sound and following this the general performance of the band. It is somewhat interesting to experience the change in style. On the early outputs the music had been calmer, was less intensive and aggressive. Interestingly, and this is quite daring indeed, 'Immolith' actually added parts of their tracks to the debut; whereby the listener is able to experience at least some of the older concept … in a new improved sound that is. Nevertheless, those pieces mark a kind of disturbance, or maybe someone familiar with these will pay more attention towards them; both may be equally possible.
There is something of early 'Dark Funeral' and 'Bathory' in the music or in the way it comes along. Ferocity and a clear focus on fast paced sections, along with a distinct kind of minimalism, which is disturbed by solo elements now and then. It seems to fit the approach of the band better, because the somehow atmosphere on the early days had always this touch of artificiality; doing something in order to appeal to a certain obscure codex or norm. 'Storm Dragon' has more of a flow and consistency, even though the general approach is rather limited. Yes, limited. 'Immolith' do not offer something that has not been done before to some degree. Be it the tempo, the arrangements and the general flow, then one has to point to a considerable amount of releases that exist already. Nevertheless, the actual result is quite listenable, even though it might wear off way too soon.
It would have been nice for the band venture a bit more in the direction of 'Sacramentum' by adding more complexity and variation in the motives to their music. Currently everything drags a little bit on and comes up with too few surprising elements. What makes the listening experience a bit annoying is the reverb in the vocals. Is it really necessary to add such to the voice? Curiously, on an earlier recording this aspect had a negative impact as well. The “Sojourn / Ghost Tower” release had some strange oscillation (!) of the vocals from one speaker to the other. It seems these Americans still have to find a way on how to properly deal with this issue.
It had been a safe approach this kind and type of release. Nothing too daring, nothing too outré and nothing that would be perceived as being adventurous. Music from and for the underground it seems.
Released as a digipack.
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 17)’: