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Immolith: StormDragon

Summoned forth in 2008, New Jersey's Immolith have one goal in mind: "to perform blackened rituals in the grand tradition of old school evil black metal!" With a sound that echoes the blackened winter winds of those barren northern skies, StormDragon's hostile, aggressive, and bleak barrage not once attempts to conceal the obvious Darkthrone, Emperor, Bathory, etc. influences. There may be little in the way of originality here, but StormDragon is more than mere pastiche or homage. With tremolo-picked riffs, harmony lines, and blasts of lead work laid out against a wall of simple yet devastating drum-work, the album spirals higher into ever-darkening, ever-ominous, ever-mounting flames. This is utterly relentless. The sheer force of 'Torch of Baphomet' is overwhelming, as if being cast into tempestuous skies by the indifferent forces of nature.

The structures are fairly simple, but the tracks save themselves from tedium by chaotic passages strewn across the black order, the tempo-changes utilised to embellish them with slow, heaving passages and rapid, intense sections at just the right moment. The songs bear all the intensity and fluidity that such brutality requires. The production is comparably clean but it retains that raw edge, and the instruments share a good balance in the mix. The kick drum sounds like a kick drum and has enough punch to do some serious damage. The guitars are raw, the simplicity of the lines fortified by the bare-knuckle sound. And though the vocals can occasionally get lost in the mix, they sound as if spewed forth from the belly of some hellish beast with a sore throat. It may not be completely original but with StormDragon, Immolith have achieved their goal and created some excellent old school black metal. In doing so, they may make it difficult to establish their name if they remain true to this path. A lot of bands are doing it; a lot of bands have done it; few have transcended it. Immolith clearly have that ability.

Track Listing:

  1. The Invocation
  2. Torch Of Baphomet
  3. Rites Of The Blood Moon
  4. Storm Dragon
  5. The Ghost Of Inverness
  6. The Obsidian Throne Of Azazel
  7. Hymns To The Countess
  8. A Pact Of Blood

Added: January 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Immolith on Facebook
Hits: 1457
Language: english

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Immolith: StormDragon
Posted by Carl Sederholm, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-01-22 06:43:19
My Score:

Although Immolith is a fairly new band, they play like they've been at it for quite a while. Storm Dragon, their first full-length recording, offers a nice blend of old school Black metal with some seriously punk-inflected speed and aggressiveness. They may not play with the same degree of musical virtuosity or innovativeness as do other bands, but they make a strong first impression and give listeners hope that America's Black metal scene is attracting solid work.

Honestly, I never know whether to take the corpse paint, demonic vocals, and devilish lyrics seriously. Like a good horror movie, I think that most of this stuff is meant to grab attention and to trick audiences into thinking something dangerous is lurking just around the corner. However it is meant, though, the mood, idioms, and themes of extreme metal have certainly established a tight grasp on the new music in the metal underground. Immolith demonstrates their understanding of these influences in tracks like "Rites of the Blood Moon," "A Pact of Blood," and "Hymns to the Countess." To my ears, though, Immolith should earn strongest praise for tracks like "Storm Dragon" and "The Ghost Tower of Inverness" which show off how well this band sounds when they are playing fast and aggressive Black metal. Listeners will probably notice that both songs sound the same, as if the band worked out a good musical theme and then tried it again with only slight variation. I didn't mind. These cuts show the overall strength of this band, especially when the guitar takes the lead to establish the mood and direction of the song. "The Ghost Tower of Inverness," my favorite track, even includes a short guitar solo, something I don't hear as often as I'd like with this style of metal. Immolith is a strong heavy metal band whose work is marred only by repetitiveness. Some listeners probably won't like the vocals because of the singer's gritty rasp, but they fit well enough with the music that they don't distract too much.

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