I don’t think that a band having a reputation like JUDAS ISCARIOT really needs an introduction, but for those of you who aren’t in the Black Metal scene or are just learning of Akhenaten and company here’s a quick breakdown of his history. JUDAS ISCARIOT started way back in the hey day of Black Metal (1992-93) with two short and (relatively) sweet demos under the name HEIDEGGER. All instruments were handled by Akhenaten as were the vocals. The debut album “The Cold Earth Slept Below” was an impressive one, especially when taken into account it was Black Metal from the States…and Illinois no less. Akhenaten continued to release albums pretty much annually and played every instrument by himself up until “Heaven In Flames” which he started using session drummers. JUDAS ISCARIOT continued its career strongly and then abruptly came to a halt in 2002, after Akhenaten called it quits on August 25th (the same day Nietzsche died), 2002.
This sudden ending created a bit of backlash in the US Black Metal (USBM) scene, and had many a fan hating JUDAS ISCARIOT for this reason coupled with Akhenaten’s attitude. Akhenaten was known for his anti-American attitude, as he believed it to be a plastic society filled with only shallow and ignorant people, but he never denied his American roots, even after moving to Europe. He still embraced the hard life he found in America and nevertheless continued to be recognized as an American band.
There, you kids happy?
So, onto the gem that is “Dethroned, Conquered and Forgotten”. This release contains some of JUDAS ISCARIOT’s most varied work, featuring slower more melodic passages to fast as hell Black Metal war marches, “Dethroned, Conquered and Forgotten” has it all. What I like most about “Dethroned, Conquered and Forgotten” (and JUDAS ISCARIOT in general) has always been the production, dirty yet clean, raw and yet still very audible; hell you can hear the bass in a few songs. Anyway, the production fits the music very well.
So this EP starts off with the fantastic “Descent To The Abyss” a fast blistering song with aggressive drumming and great riffs as expected, but just wait until the 2:17 mark comes around and the beautiful melodies of JUDAS ISCARIOT warp around you, while the rhythm guitar remains the same, a wonderful passage is played over it, capturing the spirit of Black Metal, really great stuff. “Benevolent Whore, Dethroned For Eternity” continues down the road of fantastic raw Black Metal blended with undeniable melody and prowess. But what’s this? “Journey Through Visions Of War” is a much slower song than the previous two, in fact it’s downright Doom-y compared to the last two. This song is pure DARKTHRONE, in spirit, the riff is played for minutes, barely changing and keeping the same monotonous (not in a bad way) tone the whole time.
“March Upon A Mighty Throne” is the standard JUDAS ISCARIOT ambient track, with droning guitars and a lack of drumming. Not that this is bad, in fact it’s quite good and it gives the listener time to breath a bit. Then the ungodly “Spill The Blood Of The Lamb (Special Blitzkrieg Version)” comes in like a damn tank, blowing your head clean off with the insane drumming and downright evil vocal performance. Some sick shit here kids.
“Dethroned, Conquered and Forgotten” certainly isn’t JUDAS ISCARIOT’s best, but it’s damn good and a good start for new fans, as it’s cheap and summarizes JUDAS ISCARIOT’s sound in a small 20 minute package. Anyway, a collectors item as well, that is of course if you got the vinyl edition with the 1993 demo attached to it…you did didn’t you?
(Online March 1, 2007)