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Itheist > Itheist > Reviews > BastardHead
Itheist - Itheist

Deathsmell Osmegma - 66%

BastardHead, July 15th, 2019

There's nothing exactly wrong with Itheist's self titled debut. It's suitably intense and chaotic, exactly the kind of thing that works extremely well when done correctly. And hell I can't even say with confidence that this is done incorrectly, but that's also sort of my biggest problem with it. Apart from moments of face melting intensity like "Guardian of Baphomet", the lion's share of the music contained on Itheist is just really safe. Not like, safe for mainstream consumption obviously, this is far too extreme for that, but very safe for somebody who is familiar with this style of music already. No joke, the press junket literally says "the new album brings together blackened melody with dissonance, creating a unique style of Extreme Metal", which is just.. what? No, there's nothing unique about just doing what Deathspell Omega has been doing for 15 years now. You're not special, you nerds.

But even with that said, I like this album. Itheist is a shameless DSO clone and that's okay! I don't understand this pathological need for metal bands to just fucking lie about how unique they are all the time, as if there's some rule that anything that isn't a new idea is automatically lesser. It's fine to wear your influences on your sleeves. It's fine to just rip off one or two bands if you're actually good at it. Sure, the best bands in any given subgenre are generally innovators in some respect but it's by no means a requirement. If you don't have any new ideas it's totally okay to just pay homage to your heroes. If you're good songwriters and understand what makes their music work in the first place, whatever you produce will turn out just fucking fine, I promise.

Case in point... well, Itheist. This is chaotic jangleblack in the vein of DSO with some hints of more death metal influence like Portal or Ulcerate or something, but overall it's really obvious where most of their ideas stemmed from. But because they're good songwriters and understand why DSO is such a good band, the songs come out just fine, exactly like I said they would. Maybe it's missing the point to get so hung up on a few sentences in a promo blurb but this is just fucking endemic to metal bands and it drives me up the wall. Grab any track here and you'll hear whirling, tumbling dissonance with drums that sound like they're falling down a mountainside, and it'll qualitatively rank somewhere between "servicable" and "good". Really my only complaint here is that other bands have done this better, but that's not particularly fair if we're viewing this in a vacuum. With all context stripped away, this is a brutal, disorienting album with like sixty riffs per song and wild, flailing drumming, and that's just a blast to listen to.

The problem is that nothing exists in a vacuum, and when you take this with the context of the metal scene at large, you can't help but just spend your time thinking of a better band you could be listening to. On the whole though, Itheist is a wild ride that keeps things entertaining and menacing despite a runtime that seems like it just never ends. Try not to zone out and you'll find something worth enjoying, but it's really hard for your eyes to not glaze over after three or four tracks.

Originally written for Lair of the Bastard