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raw black metal done right - 90%

stonetotem, December 20th, 2008

Between Ildjarn's self-titled, Forest Poetry and this we have three top notch raw black metal albums with little change in style. While many modern bands have attempted to replicate this style or use a similarly minimalist and straightforward approach, very few have had the substance to pull it off. Most of the bands intentionally trying to be hard and old school just turn out gay, so you have to look to a small number of artists to give you the raw stuff done properly.

It's very easy to put together songs only using a few chords, intentionally poor production and not much in the way of musicianship or lyrical creativity. However, when done right a minimalist, raw, harsh and intense sound can work out perfectly. Ildjarn's sound is thick and full, the distortion creates a haze, and repitition has a trance-like effect. The riffs, while simple, are well written for their purpose.

The riffs are mid-paced, simplistic and punky, with dissonant sounding chords and huge amounts of fuzz. The bass generally follows the same riffs as the guitar, occasionally altering a bit. The bass sound is heavy and harsh with quickly strummed notes. On some occasions the guitar will take a simplistic lead part doing a repetitive melody on higher notes (somewhat similar to the kind of "solos" Von had, but more integrated because of the flurry of distortion.) The drums are extremely simplistic, rarely departing from one fast-to-midpaced beat (a beat very common to old school black metal) or a more punky beat. Finally the vocals are no different from any other Ildjarn release. Basically screams that are slightly lower than usual, more or less matching the tone of the music rather than screeching.

All in all this is typical of the three main Ildjarn releases. It's raw, harsh, simplistic, punky and has a distinctly dull tone with everything falling into a solid fuzz. Ildjarn, Forest Poetry and Strength and Anger are the most important of Ildjarn's releases, however the demos and EPs that share the black metal sound are also good. Ildjarn's style didn't change much for their black metal releases, and it's exactly the type of pure raw sound I want. Fuck the symphonic, melodic, progressive, and "post-black metal" bands for the most part. The best type of black metal is the raw and simplistic (when done right). With Ildjarn there really is no single release to jump into, so if you're interested get all three of Ildjarn's main albums. But beware of the "ambient" stuff that was under the same name. It's pretty much the same folly as Burzum's last two albums (annoying minimalistic synths, nothing resembling black metal, and ultimately a bore to listen to).

Also, fuck the people who bash this and other Ildjarn releases for being too raw, harsh and repetitive. Get a pair of balls, Sally.