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Too joyful to be black - 64%

Colonel Para Bellum, March 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Dark East Productions (Limited edition)

I wouldn't call it black metal, at least "clean". It can be heard that apart from the vocalist who fairly often tried to imitate, how should I put it, Dani of Cradle of Filth, all the other musicians are thrashers / death metal players who have changed their views to black metal occasionally. Or at the request of friend. Right, sometimes the Iscariot music sounds like traditional norwegian black metal, in the most successful moments we can identify Ulver (in the first song "The Ones Walking in the Night" in the second minute, or at the beginning of the fourth song "Sky Agony"), and sometimes mentioned, again, how should I put it, Cradle of Filth. However, thrash metal and technical death metal dominate.

I think there was a usual story for those times (at least here in Russia) during the creating of "The Black Square": only the vocalist had an idea of what (true) black metal is, and the rest were something like "ok, it's cool to play". Seriously. Therefore, it turned out that the music is too optimistic and joyful to be "true". As for the black metal atmosphere, it erupts sporadically. By pieces. It's like the musicians got a suggestion to play black metal, and they follow this suggestion, but often forget about it, and then they throw themselves into their pre-black metal past. Something like that.

For example, in the third song "The Evil Within" at 3:27 we can hear a flamenco guitar solo (ok, it isn't the same thing as a banjo solo on "Noregs vaapen" by Taake – it was some kind of "art provocation" from Hoest I think, but Iscariot didn't try to shock "orthodox" listeners, in those years no one thought about "art provocations" yet). Or a fingerpicking in the fourth song "Sky Agony", it is, I'm sorry, what is commonly identified as "Russian rock". However, a solo at 2:37 in fifth song "Something Must Happen" indeed touches me to the heart (and it's again not black metal), too bad it's too short.

As in most if any cases of the "re-educated" (from thrash to black) bands, there is no more talk about the wholeness of the album. However, the Iscariot music paradoxically sounds even pretty harmoniously and it has some originality. Moreover, the technique of the musicians is on top (they aren't Mekong Delta but all the same). But all this is acceptable only if the listener likes good old thrash metal and technical death metal. With poor sounding. Well, or if you like strange originality.