Released: 2003, World Chaos
If you are going to imitate someone, why not imitate the best. That is just what Illnath have done. They have taken a formula and style pioneered by Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir and adapted it, some might even say copied it. Lack of originality doesn’t bother me at all but some people get turned off by bands that sound like others, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.
The first non-Japanese band on the spectacular World Chaos label is from Denmark and so you might have to look a little bit to grab a copy. This is the bands second release following a MCD. With a quick change in singer and the band soldiered on and shortly after the recording their debut full-length ‘Fields’ the band recruited ex-Mercenary drummer Rasmus Jakobsen.
In today’s competitive environment it is good to see even smaller new labels paying attention to details like presentation. Illnath’s debut has some good art, full lyrics, neat digitally altered pictures of the band, credits and so on. The lyrics talk about gothic type topics, suicide, blood, torture, horror and other down-tuned romanticized versions of dark topics.
As mentioned previously Illnath play a very decent form of melodic Black Metal. All the conventions are there, lots of lush swirling keyboards, and dual,triple even quadruple vocal styles, the death growl, the hiss, the shriek and the somber spoken styles are all there. Vocalist Narrenschiff sounds like a big fan of Dani Filth and doesn’t try to hide it. There are many, many bands that play this style so it really depends on your preference for the genre. I will tell you right now purists of the form will not be all that impressed. No spikes, no corpse-paint and although I do not mean to imply that purists get caught up in image, this band kind of looks like recent Royal Hunt or maybe Ark!
Unlike some recent melodic Black Metal offering this is a short and punchy release with nine songs clocking in at about fourty minutes with most of the songs in the four to five minute range. What is so critical for a band that chooses to wear it’s influences proudly is that the band must have the strength of song. I’m pleased to note that these are pretty decent songs. Sonically speaking I would have liked less reliance on keyboards but the arrangements of the blast beats, the blur of noise school of guitar riffing are more than adequate. Female vocals courtesy of Lena, (high and sweet of course!) add another nice dimension to the title cut as do the slight smattering of acoustic piano. Lena sounds a bit like Sabine of Edenbridge so that is a major bonus. I would have liked to hear more of Lena on this disc.
I am a pretty big open-minded fan of all sorts of Black Metal, the pagan stuff, the Viking stuff, the ambient stuff so if you are a fan of one certain type and feel that Cradle and Dimmu are ruining the genre you will want to pass. The rest of use can enjoy this little gothic gem that may ultimately and unfortunately get lost in the shuffle of so many bands in this style these days. Visit the Fields of Evil Pleasure at http://www.illnath.dk.