Iblis   

Menthell

D.T.M. Productions 2013

Poland's eccentric black metal maniacs take experimentation to new extremes on their debut full-length.  Sharp instrumentation and an icy tone lead your ears down a dark path, however you quickly encounter bizarre twists and feverish blasts of hellish metal.  White Claudia jumps from left to right with its tempos.  Dry vocals and strange electronic samples make for a somewhat uneasy listen.  All the time you feel like the rug is going to be pulled out from under you as a flurry of riffs and strange drum lines cause your expectations to jerk back and forth.  I hear hints of Voivod, Ved Buens Ende, DHG, and other avant-garde alchemists dwelling in the songwriting of Iblis, however Menthell is not near as cohesive as any of the bands I just mentioned.  12 Sycamores begins with a massively thick bass guitar and a complete explosion of drums and intense riffing.  The track drops into an almost jazzy flow with those unique vocals creating an odd contrast with the vocals.  Somehow the vocals don't quite mesh perfectly with the music.  The tripping drum lines and riffs and weird vocals that finish out the song create for an awkward listen.  The title-track is up next and beings with a catchy riff.  Ghostly vocals rise from the swirling abyss of midtempo stomps and accompanying blasts.  The assemblage of riffs and beats is dizzying, and not always in a good way.  The bass line utilized in the opening segment of Poison In Your Food is awesome and then the tracks shifts from blasting madness into hard-hitting Voivod-esque antiharmonic notes.  The undulating rhythms and feverish fretwork is intense and disorienting, and then out of nowhere we get someone whistling.  It seems out of place here and the clean vocals are equally so.  I am completely overwhelmed by the vast array of riffs and tempos that rise to assault my eardrums on Origin.  Technical riffs and basslines flow out of Bill Skins Fifth.  It brings to mind a more black metal version of early Atheist.  Iblis is a group of obviously talented musicians with grand goals for the songwriting.  However sometimes I feel like they are trying to hard to be "different" and some of their ideas come off as strange for the sake of being strange rather than seeming natural.  I went into this album with zero preconceptions and left it feeling nothing but confusion.