Iskra – Ruins (Southern Lord)
Genre: Black Metal
Anarchist politics are often associated with crust punk and d-beat, rather the black metal, yet these Canadians employ the musical manifesto of bands like Immortal and Gorgoroth to force their point home – and they do it with panache.
Songs like Traume draw on the primal ferocity and menacing atmospheres of early Norwegian BM to pour extra menace into the band’s vitriolic delivery, while Thieves of Life sounds like Marduk after a few ciders at a squat party – a nice mix of unhinged aggression, raw punk spirit and blastbeat-driven, ice-coated riffery. Indeed, there is some seriously impressive tremolo picking amongst Ruins’ 13 tracks, with Illegal particularly notable for its lacerating axework.
Yet for all their passion and political invective, the British Columbia act almost play it too safe at times: their take on black metal is on the whole, surprisingly orthodox and lacks the bite a more expansive sound could give their message. And that’s something of a shame, especially considering the quintet’s obvious musical talent…
RUSHONROCK RATED: 6.5/10 Canarchy