I SHALT BECOME – Poison CD
My first experience listening to this one man black metal act from Illinois was in 2008 with the Requiem CD. Not only did I think it was one of the best black metal releases of that year but it also expanded my appreciation of atmospheric black metal. I’ve always liked that area of the genre plus I have a special love for certain classical composers but what I SHALT BECOME, aka: S. Holloman who performs all instruments, did was allow me to fully understand that full blown classic orchestration within the medium of black metal is black metal. Sure many bands have dabbled with adding keyboards and synths but there only add on. What I SHALT BECOME does is more in depth. Last year’s The Pendle Witch Trials was another head first dive into the abyss while the instrumentation trumpeted around your skull like symphonic flies.
On Poison, S. Holloman gives the listener a tour de force in darkness and morbid fascination. I consider this to be his best work of which I’ve heard. For history’s sake Holloman, under I SHALT BECOME, has four previous releases. The two I’ve already mentioned as well as Wanderings from 1998 and In the Falling Snow from 2008. But getting back to this his fifth full length, Poison is not an easily accessible release for any black metal fan who enjoys maniacal blast beating and two riffs, one fast and one slow. For those individuals I suggest taking a sharp object to your head. Cut deeply in a straight eight inch line to open up your skull. Next place your fingers into the slit and pry your skull apart to expose your brain better to the musical sensations. For everyone else your ears will do nicely.
S. Holloman goes far beyond that suicide black metal tag he has unfortunately been issued by lazy journalists who compared him to Malefic of XASTHUR. Fuck XASTHUR and that over hyped bed room black metal. S. Holloman is a composer of death like soundscapes that linger in your brain bucket like a nest of bats and fly out your ears as night time comes. The flair here is for the theatrical and not the grim depressive sod in the corner. The lyrics, which can only be understood by reading them along as the music cascades around you, are poetic journeys which also linger in your conciseness for further thought analysis. I find it to be a complete sick experience as the keyboard melodies bounce off of the filthy guitar riffs then grind to a halt as synth string arrangements takes hold of your attention. And before I forget S. Holloman’s violin playing can be down right scary as if he were in the room with you standing behind the chair you’re sitting in. Yes Poison is one morbid affair with overtones that would lead a listener to think gothic. The case is there for Holloman’s progression from black metal to classical. The man could be doing film scores.