Illum Adora specialize in traditional black metal (of the 2nd wave variety), and have just unleashed their debut album ‘…of Serpentine Forces’ via Folter Records.
The German band, consisting of the brilliantly monikered main man Hurricane Hellfukker (from Zarathustra), Shargaz Isidor (guitars), Jörmundgand (bass) and Countess drummer Mortüüm, are not only here to play tribute, but to put their own interpretation on to how black metal HAS to sound.
…The end result, is pretty much how most bands expect old-school BM to sound.
The album may offer little in the way of surprises, but the single-minded vision, drive, and determination is commendable, and within the 9 tracks that make up ‘…of Serpentine Forces’, a primitive and furious necro fix is certainly achieved. Although on occasion, the point may seem somewhat labored.
The album works best (obviously) when things are kept fast and furious, and the vibe of bands such as Behexen and Throne of Katarsis shine through on tracks such as opener ‘Dominions of Spheres Beyond’, ‘Nihil Negativum’, and ‘Under the Iron of the Moon’. All displaying an impressive hellish swagger and plenty of gallop, with rasping vox and a crusty punk edge. But, by turns the simplistic, nursery rhyme riffing and often annoying cymbal crashing go some way into dampening the overall impact, with ‘Clashing of Swords’ and ‘Forever Dying but Never Dead’ falling foul, despite the latter track offering up an oddly catchy chorus. Some doomier aspects from ‘…of Serpentine Forces’ and some great tribal drumming in ‘Hic Sunt Dracones’ provide some respite from the fury, and the use of spoken word samples proves quite inspired at times, but doesn’t really go quite far enough in elevating the album above the rest of the “badger” set. A shame, but it does keep the band true to their word in offering something primitive and authentic to the legacy of the early 90’s.
So, there we have it…Traditional sounding black metal from Germany.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
(6/10 Stuart Carroll)