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Different Era, Same Problem. - 60%

Perplexed_Sjel, September 15th, 2008

“According to the band, this material has never been released as a Birkenau demo, but is solely to be considered as a new I Shalt Become album.” I advise the listener to pay no attention to the word ‘new’ in that sentence. The material present on ‘In The Falling Snow’ is a carven copy of the material provided for us on an earlier record, ‘Wanderings’. The problem that I personally have with I Shalt Become is the aversion to change that S. Holliman seems to have. The main sources of both anger and joy from ‘Wanderings’ are exactly the same on this effort. The construction of the songs is the same. The outcome is the same. Everything is the same!

Having reviewed ‘Requiem’ yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that this one man American act isn’t about to change his ideals for anyone, not even himself. I suppose if he is happy producing music on a similar nature, which seems to be very much inspired by the second wave of black metal bands, then so be it. ‘Requiem’ did contain a few differences, but this record, ‘In The Falling Snow’, does not. The production is very similar to how it was when ‘Wanderings’ was released. A lo-fi sound, projecting the distortion better than any other element of the music. The same sound effects on the guitars, which are highly distorted and spew forth an evil sound which seems to imitate the impression that the second wave acts laid down, over a decade before this record. There are moments of a positive nature, for example, there are a few decent songs which embody the true nature of black metal. Heavy distortion, a influential double bass section which often attacks the listen through blast beats and the projection of evil through aggressive soundscapes which are enhanced by the distortion of both instrumentation and vocals which, in there mostly indecipherable state, act as another Hellenic instrument. Typically rasping, typically black metal. There isn’t anything innovative about this piece. There are those, of course, who will enjoy the dark ambient influenced I Shalt Become, but the majority of black metal fans these days seem to be wanting more than yesteryear worship.

The tremolo riffs, the double bass and the influence of the keyboards on the atmospheric styling is decent enough, creating aggressive and often eerie soundscapes to work across, but the same problem exists as it did on both ‘Wanderings’ and ‘Requiem’ The fact is, there isn’t enough memorable material that allows this record to have a lasting appeal. Songs fuse together in bundles of distortion which makes it difficult to even enjoy it during it’s again, rather annoyingly, short duration. To me, this record is fixated on reliving the old days and creating a feeling of nostalgia, which ‘Requiem’ also did, within the listener because the first effort of this band is, in general, held in high esteem by black metal lovers. While songs like the self-titled track do embrace the audience with a hard slap of melody, the brief attacks on the senses of the individual listening to the piece aren’t long lasting. The appeal of this record is just as short as the length of the material itself. If it had come over a decade ago, then perhaps the material present would stand a better chance of being viewed more positively, but it hasn’t. It has come out at a time where avant-gardé is making love to black metal and seducing us with experimentation. ‘In The Falling Snow’ is a limited offering.