ISKALD - The Sun I Carried Alone CD
Genre: Black Metal
In English the band's name means ice cold and that's exactly what I thought of their 2008 release Revelations of Reckoning Day. It was one of my favorite black metal releases that year and for the past two I thought it was the last I'd hear from them. Well ISKALD is back and on The Sun I Carried Alone the ice has melted slightly. I'm not saying the band has lighted up actually they're more vicious sounding then ever. Technically the band's sound is melodic BM but with various staccato riffs and varying the degrees of melody which give it that strong brutal feeling. A perfect example is on the actual opening track, "Under the Black Moon". There is an ambient symphonic style opener but we'll dispense with that one. "Under the Black Moon" is a fierce cut which bursts out of the wilderness and into your face. With the intensity of the music plus harsh vocals you scream "Norwegian Black Metal" because that's what it is. They're also a two piece with Simon Larson on guitar, bass, vocals and the hardly heard keyboards plus there's Aage Andre Krekling on drums and vocals.
The band dials back a bit on the speed as the release moves along but not the intensity. "Forged by Wolves" draws on epic power that was once reserved for Symphonic Black Metal. I once saw a reviewer years ago compare ISKALD with early DIMMU BORGIR. I was like what's the guy trying to do, scare people away? ISKALD are by no means original sounding and do have influences which span most of the Norwegian BM scene. What they do is channel the best aspects of it, run it through with great production values and modern touches to create this ferocious sound. "I Lys av Morket" has a little of IMMORTAL's influence running through it's melodies and the added thrash element. The title cut alternates from face ripping speed to bludgeoning slabs of riff power. "Rigor Mortis" is the big surprise track with it's frost coated doom atmosphere taking the place of all other effects on here. Add to that the long and epic "Burning Bridges" which closes this masterpiece. This is only the band's third full length and it's also their best.