Thursday, 17 April 2014

Iskald - Nedom Og Nord (2014)

The last Iskald album I heard was 2008's Revelations of Reckoning Day, so I don't actually know what they've done since then, but I'll review their latest offering, Nedom Og Nord (Journey to the North), anyway.

I quite like the fact that this band has only two members, one of whom does the drums and the other of whom does everything else. One- or Two-man bands often have a tight focus that is missing from larger bands. Iskald are entirely focused on recreating the feeling of an arctic blizzard in your front room, and they do it pretty well. If you're looking for a reference point, they've clearly learnt a lot from Immortal, with the excellent drumming providing the backing for riffs that quickly move from sauntering groove to icy blasts. The arpeggios are a particular joy, with a crackly edge to them that conjures images of the glittering crests of icebergs.

Underworldly is a track that borrows from Blut Aus Nord, with some particularly chilling atonal chord lunges. The track is largely instrumental, but the vocals that are used are vast yet comprehensible and suitably emotional.

The song Iskald is worth checking out, mainly for the strained vocals that sound more Impaled Nazarene than Iskald, but the riffs are much broader and epic than in the other tracks, and contain that Marduk-esque style of moving down the fretboard as the song goes on rather up it. There's even a touching solo, though don't expect any fret-wankery here - it's a sparse solo, drowning in a sea of chords.

You've got to hand it Iskald: they know how to create that frozen atmosphere. They're no Immortal, but they're clutching at the same frostbitten cloak. The album is not as varied as it could be, but the formula works, and there are parts of this album that are classic black metal, with a chilling vocal performance. Good work from these chilly Norwegians. Someone light them a fire.

Out now on Indie Recordings.

Click here to listen to 'Underworldly'

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