Iskandr - Gelderse Poort
Atmospheric Black Metal
2 songs (23'52")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

I have not heard much of Iskandr before, but judging from the main (and only) man O being a guitarist for Turia I expected Iskandr to be similar atmospheric black metal, maybe with a twist. Gelderse Poort in some ways met my expectations, but I can hardly call it a standard atmospheric black metal, not in the Turia vein anyway.

The EP is split in two totally different parts. The opening title track has the atmospheric black metal underpinnings, but its viscous resin drenched mid-tempo steps are more along the lines of Germanic black metal like Kermania or Verdunkeln. Everything here is about building up atmosphere but it isn’t soft and dreamy. Blasts may not be furious in tempo, but deliberate riffs hang over like a dark cloud, and tremolo fills in with anxious anticipation. It isn’t nauseating, but it is kind of gripping, the pressure Gelderse Poort builds up. Just like the river and port life I understand the EP is inspired by, the title track hits a calmer mid-song break, where two levels of distorted guitars meet on a percussionless plane. It is if the river has been flowing in its murky circles, then hits a dam to be slowed down, only to resume with a different expansive cadence and flow, yet no less ominous.

The second track on the EP may count for less, initially. If you sleep on Het Graf it will just be an acoustic plus spoken words with some instrumental strength later. Yet if you settle in and listen carefully to all those acoustic guitar strumming licks and occasional piano trills, the spoken Dutch poem recited by O’s father becomes an absolute penetrating beauty. I obviously don’t speak Dutch so I cannot speak to the content, but in these times the piece sounded actually soothing and reassuring. The acoustic holds promise of the strength gathering and breakout being imminent, yet it doesn’t happen, and actually Het Graf doesn’t become anticlimactic because of it. A low timbre string instrument finally announces the switch in the song and the drums finally kick in carrying a simple rhythmic melody. The atmosphere by then is of calm getting even calmer. In some other days this EP may have been also run, but this week it provided for a needed depressurization and relaxation.

Killing Songs :
Alex quoted no quote
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:07 pm
View and Post comments