Reviewed: Iskra – Ruins

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Iskra will leave you in ruins. There is no subtler way to put it. Turn and run, for if you remain facing this oncoming incursion, you will be trampled into the very ground you stand on. Records show that Iskra are a 5-piece hailing from British Columbia, Canada but one listen to their new album Ruins will have you accepting the just as likely proposal that they are in fact a legion of demonic force, originating from a latter-day medieval campaign laced in bloodshed.

Furious from the outset, this collection of 10 ripping tracks shows a band at the top of their game. Throughout the album there is never a dull moment; as soon as you stab play, you are greeted with what will persist for the next 40 minutes, a scornful yet immediately accessible mix of thrashy blackened crust. Comparisons to well-known bands (e.g. Skeletonwitch) are bound to occur, but honestly, there is more to this release than in-your-face blackened thrash. Iskra show a balance which can often be severely lacking in this style. Sure, similar releases have the instant straight-out-of-the-box headbangability too, but upon deeper immersion with repeated listens, they regularly lose engagement through lack of balance and/or depth. With Ruins, this is surely not to be the case, with each instrumental element working in an enthralling manner with its cohort, offering up a plethora of ideas which give each play-through a slightly more detailed picture.

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From the relentless drumming, which offers only slight respites in the shape of the momentary silences between staccato stabs, to the pounding and dirty sounding bass thuds which accompany the rolling bass drums, this attack makes the ground pre-emptively quiver in subordination. Danielle’s vocals are consistently hoarse and have a genuine cut-throat delivery.

The guitars are what really stand out to me here though. Through use of quick-shifting octaves, incensed trilling, frenetic single-note shredding and those inverted chords that are no doubt as integral to the genre as the inverted crosses they’re placed in front of, these guitars straight-up rip! The open-string riffing isn’t confined to the lower register either with some upward shifts to balance out the hasty lateral traversals. While the leads are often restricted to flowing in a complimentary manner with the overall melodic stream, every so often they reach out and melt some face. There are even leads that are seemingly comprised of a single long note which is left to ring out grimly athwart several bars like a wind blowing across a cadaver-strewn moor following a bloody battle.

The riffffffs!

The production is clean enough to hear all the elements and notes clearly while not sounding too polished for the genre. The balance between the instrumental sections and vocal coverings skews slightly toward the latter, but it manages to not detract from the excellent musicianship on display here. Head over to Iskra’s bandcamp page and pick yourself up a copy ($1 CAD) of this before you are pummelled by the soiled hooves of the approaching cataclysm.

No-Flush

(image via)

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  • Ted ‘Toth’ Nü-Djent ™

    Someone has a crush

  • CyberneticOrganism

    I like this music. It makes me feel like this.

    http://i.imgur.com/JLUm1UT.gif

  • Suck Me While I Poo

    Dayum, this is pretty fucking brutal so far! Kinda reminds me of Atomicide a bit.

    http://cdn.smosh.com/sites/default/files/ftpuploads/bloguploads/funny-cartoon-network-grim-metal.gif

  • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

    I enjoyed your description of the riffs, reptile.

  • DCLXVI

    raw

  • Bitter (Tyree) Debra

    Their Bureval album was tight. I always enjoyed listening to their drummer, the dude can rip.

  • DCLXVI

    dank bass tone in this

    • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

      Aye, quite punchy. I dig it.

  • The drumming and the melodic riffs. I am sold. Thanks for this great review, Lizard.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    This be a good one.

  • Void Dweller

    Good shit.

  • I, Jack The Blumpkin King
  • JW(E)G

    It has been ages since I actually managed to get to an ISKRA gig.

    Mostly I’d hear about them the ‘week of’ from one or another of the band members while at Black Raven Records, or find a flyer around town at an even-later time/date when it’s impossible to blow off my other obligations.

    Without that former source it’s harder to catch a gig in time to shift other arrangements, since my local metal sources of information are not quite at their level. It’s sort of like trying to locate deep-web-only material (although I don’t know why one would “try” to find most of that stuff) on the plain-vanilla webernets.

  • Saw this on the FB group the other day, reeeeeeaaaaal good shit.
    Thanks, Son of Godzilla.

    • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

      Minya?

  • Disgustache

    This is a good write. To the point and straight up, just like the album. There is no escaping this band.

    http://www.lionking.org/imgarchive/Act_1/Stampede2.jpg

  • It’s always nice to start the morning out with a nice ripping off of the face.

    • Disgustache

      That’s why I got cat.

  • CT-12

    Nice find Lacertilian, this album straight up rips!

    • Disgustache

      I concur.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Darn, this be fearsome…

  • OldMetalHead

    Loving this shit. I’m on my third spin.

    • Lacertilinger

      The day I bought it I think it copped double figure plays. Not something I do very often these days but it had to be done.

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    Whatever happened to:
    Skeletonwitch
    Goatwhore..
    Fallujah
    Children of Bodem
    Battlecross

    • Lacertilinger

      I saw Goatwhore supporting Psycroptic a few months back but apart from Skeletonwitch I never really got into those other bands, so I can’t help you there.
      http://www.toiletovhell.com/gig-review-psycroptic-goatwhore-disentomb-ouroboros-daemon-pyre/

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        thank you sir…soo many bands soo few last. Skeletonwitch split with singer and drama ensued. They were really climbing whatever ladder remains for bands post Napster..its a slippery ladder now with a bottomless pit of obscurity…

        • Dubzlinger, Malandro Slayer

          Children of Bodom are still plugging along, although I think most people realize they’re well past their prime.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            for sure…ironically it was only a few years ago they seemed to be on an upward trajectory…the band half-life is about 2 years now…lol