Isenblast - Altars of Blood
Self released
Black Metal
2 songs (9'36")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Alex

Reviewing demos by young fledgling bands, on one hand you want to be the most supportive, especially given the fact that if tasked with a releasing an album by myself I would have no clue. Yet, you have to call it how you hear it, but remain cognizant that if someone somewhere with the decision making capacity stumbles upon your writeup, that may mean deal or no deal for the young crew.

I missed Detroit, MI, Isenblast last year’s EP Unleashing the Demon Scourge, so the 2-tracker warm up for their upcoming mini-album, titled Altars of Blood, is my first introduction to the band. From where I live, and while my time could afford it, Detroit, MI, was the place where I would go to metal shows. I-Rock, Harpos, Blondies are the most familiar places in which many a concert was attended, but I have not come across Isenblast while there. Doesn’t mean that the quartet is concocting their offerings in complete obscurity, we just never crossed paths.

What is pretty clear, at least while listening to Altars of Blood, is that Isenblast is inspired by the early wave of 90s black metal coming from Scandinavia, mixing influences from both melodic and chaotic sides of the genre. Altars of Blood, the song, begins in a raw, sloppy and primitive fashion, which is perfectly fine in my book, yet the drilling guitar and repetitive riffs by Isenblast on this song simply are not that engaging. The band manages to elevate, however, with the remnants of tremolo melody coming in around 3’30”. The subsequent I; Lucifer has a more immediate draw, and while just as repetitive, it connected with me easier, fitting banshee vocals delivering the dark substance message I can’t possibly decipher.

I comprehend completely how production levels on the self-released 2 track demo cannot be stellar. No one needs that and no one expects that from a black metal collective anyway. That is why you call it underground, I guess. Yet production of Altars of Blood and its volume levels do not do Isenblast and the style of black metal they are trying to play any favors. For bestial Finnish scene or punk influenced stuff this would have sufficed, but it seems to me Isneblast have a little different aspirations, and want to spread out melodic swirling shroud. I clearly recall how chilling my first experience with Dissection was. The freeze went directly to the heart. Well, Altars of Blood is no Dissection, although guitar work is pretty intricate. The hope then is that both songwriting and sound will be stepped up when the mini-album sees the light of day (or the dark of night, whichever the case may be).

Killing Songs :
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