Released: 2001, Negatron Records
Woah. This is some pretty freaky shit. Iblis is a semi-black metal band out of Italy, and the third Negatron Records band I’ve had to review this month. I say they are semi-black metal because their music is an evolved form of the genre. I guess the best association I can make with Iblis is that they are symphonic/classical black metal, but almost entirely unlike any other band out there. Their symphonics are true symphonics, not those fake sounds created on a Casio. Case in point, album opener “Transient” is a 2:30 instrumental of classical violin (?). Perhaps not very metal, but excellently played. The album only gets even stranger from there on in. Although they use their classical elements sparingly from then on, I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything quite like Axiom before.
However, to totally contradict myself, the second song “Blazing” is a fairly typical black metal song, although it still incorporates some classical elements over top of the din. “Odd Grin” is perhaps the true sound that Iblis trying to achieve. The song is a blend of true black metal and classical arrangements, with some very discordant keyboard work. The song is quite good, although the full-on black metal parts are perhaps a little too familiar. Still, the last two minutes of the song are given to a piano solo that is, in a word, fantastic. If the band found a way to incorporate both the piano and the violin into their blackened attack, they would be truly amazing. Of course, I’m an ex-piano student, so maybe I’m biased. “Infant” and “Molesting Your Soul” are also fairly typical black metal songs, but both do incorporate some interesting arrangements.
The true highlights of the album are the instrumentals; “Axiom” and “Neverheard”, both of which are violin/piano pieces where the two instruments basically have the equivalent of a Tipton/Downing axe duel. Excellent stuff. As brilliant as the truly original parts of the album are, I can’t give the entire album full marks. The rest of the album is fairly basic black metal 101-type stuff that can get kinda dull after awhile. Still, upon first listen, this album is quite mind-blowing and should really be heard. If Iblis can build upon the foundation that they have laid with Axiom, black metal will never be the same again.