Monument of Brimstone
Spikefarm Records 2009
Intense and icy blackened blasts freeze the listener in their tracks on the debut album from Portuguese/Dutch black metal quartet Israthoum. After a short yet chilling intro frigid arctic blasts of black metal guitars fly out of the speakers on Wearing You. Mournful vocals accompany the traditional black metal shrieks and make a somber appearance during the midtempo passage towards the track's middle. At times I hear a echo of Burzum's atmosphere though it has been stretched and refined to give it a different angle. Somewhat abandoning the Norsecore roots, Painters of Uncreation bears a stronger resemblance to the dissonant Swedish art that has been coming out lately and even some of the emotional atmosphere of Katatonia glimmers beneath the surface. That is until a ferocious melody streaks across the night sky, falling somewhere between Dissection and perhaps Gorgoroth. At first Soul Funeral attacks with a violent, sawing guitars and a brutal disposition. Slowly this gives way to slower, more melancholic riffing and clean vocals before mutating once again. Ghostly synths and humming guitars float like moonlit zephyrs across the night sky on My Death Grotesque. Voxinferi's vocals are truly ghastly on this track and the bass guitar is actually noticeable at points here. Breaking stride with layers of acoustic guitars and deep, spoken vocals is the folk inspired Fire, Deliverance which breaths with a nostalgic glance back towards pagan majesty. Israthoum fuses, blends and mixes a deadly brew of many different styles into a poisonous and well-honed weapon of Satanic hate. While not groundbreaking in any sense of the word, Monument of Brimstone is still possessing of an intense energy and an evil aura. Each track glistens with an icy exterior that reflects back only the dark emptiness of the void.