The different approaches that Black Metal artists take with their music are something this reviewer has always found interesting. There seems to be a propensity to either pummel the listener into submission through a non stop barrage of blistering guitar riffs, faster than the speed of light drumming and your choice of tortured, evil sounding vocals. The flip side of the coin is a more depressing approach which relies more on desolate atmospherics created by eerie, icy sounding keyboards or synths, layers of guitars and shrouded whisper like vocals. In fact this later approach has defined what has come to be known as the USBM (US Black Metal) sound. This brings us to the latest release Requiem from the one man band from Illinois I Shalt Become, one of the originators of said sound in the mid 90's.
At just slightly over 40 minutes Requiem is the perfect ten song paean to isolation and despair with it's dirge like rhythms and overall ambiance. The layered guitar method is employed to utter perfection by sole member S.Holliman and while some of these compositions tend to end rather abruptly at times, there remains an obvious sense of continuity running throughout Requiem. Keyboards are used rather sparingly and only serve to further embellish these already desolate landscapes. Both the drums and whispered, snarling vocals are buried a little further back in the mix, allowing the layered guitar melodies to have the heightened presence necessary in order to weave their hypnotic power. In short this is black metal dissonance at its finest.
Overall Requiem is a pretty impressive and haunting piece of work, one which fans of Xasthur and Leviathan will certainly want to add to their collections.
2) An Atteridgeville Horror
5) The Corpse in the Forest
6) Seven Days to Dead (instrumental)
7) The Casket Letters
8) Beggars Belief