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Vicious - 90%

chaossphere, September 29th, 2003

Y'know, generally I dislike EP's. Often they're an excuse to throw out some substandard material, throwaway demo/live/rehearsal tracks or some similar nonsense. Not in the case of Judas Iscariot's EP's though. This, just like the others, is simply a pummeling assault packed with quality tunes for it's mere 20 minute length. The opener "Descent To The Abyss" starts out deceptively gentle with 4 bars of echoing guitar, before the drums and main riff kick in with spine-crushing force, nailing you to the wall for 5 minutes. The cymbals here are insane, sounding like clashing swords or something, while the characteristically abrasive, fuzzed out guitar tone hammers forth simple yet effective Darkthrone-worshipping riffs. This being the second album to feature Duane Timlin/Cryptic Winter on drums, the percussion is downright amazing, far surpassing Akhenaten's clumsy yet charming drumming on the older material.

"Benevolent Whore, Dethroned For Eternity" doesn't let up in the intensity stakes either, being 3 minutes of pummeling blastbeats and more nasty guitar work. The next two tracks slow down a bit, the first being a midpaced, more atmospheric black metal tune, which is followed by one of JI's trademarks - a guitar-only instrumental of epic proportions, which is something I haven't noticed any other bands doing - usually these things only last a minute or they have synth or drums. The last track is a sped up reworking of "Spill The Blood Of The Lamb, originally featured on Heaven In Flames, this time subtitled "Special Blitzkrieg Version" and lasting 90 seconds less than the original version. It fits in nicely with the first two songs and makes for a nasty finale to this short, intense piece of work. Definitely nab this if you can find it, especially if you haven't heard Judas Iscariot before. It's a perfect introduction for newbies and an essential addition for existing devotees.