Ah yes, JUDAS ISCARIOT, I remember that band, didn’t they have a hit by the name of “Over My Head”? Oh, they didn’t? That was THE FRAY? Right……
Anyway I’m back kids, perhaps more inspired? Maybe more prolific? Whatever the reason I find myself having to review a JUDAS ISCARIOT album because one of you punks requested it. So today’s lucky winner will receive one brand new review of the last JUDAS ISCARIOT opus “To Embrace The Corpses Bleeding” (nice grammar there Akhenaten, Black Metal reference or not, I take my English seriously). So, no introduction is needed here (and if you do, read my review of “Dethroned, Conquered And Forgotten”.) as JUDAS ISCARIOT is pretty well known in the scene for being a pioneer of USBM.
Ever enigmatic Akhenaten returned in the year 2002 to unleash upon an unsuspecting crowd an Atomic Bomb of an album. Now with the help of session drummer Cryptic Winter, Akhenaten moved full speed into the Black Metal scene and gave a big “fuck off” to trends. Not only is “To Embrace The Corpses Bleeding” the final JUDAS ISCARIOT album, it’s also damn near perfect. Akhenaten’s vocals are much different this time around, as instead of high pitched shrieking or the standard Black Metal vocal style he does something more akin to Death Metal but still keeping the Black Metal style (for a good comparison check out the vocal work by Mikko Aspa on any of the later DEATHSPELL OMEGA works).
The core of the music hasn’t changed, as it is still hateful and fast, occasionally mixing it up with a slower song here and there, but something’s different this time around, and that’s just the way songs flow from one another. They don’t connect, as this is not one long song, but rather each ending is perfect to the next beginning, this could just be me being weird like that, but perhaps this order was intentional. But it is time to forge on through to the songs themselves.
So “I Awoke To A Night Of Pain And Carnage” begins this voyage into darkness and I must say, this is possibly the best opening that JUDAS ISCARIOT has ever had on an album, fast, venomous and as vitriolic as ever. But wait…at the 3:50 mark something amazing happens, the return of the rock-out begins, and boy o boy does it ever rock. Akhenaten could have thrown in a few “UGHs” and they wouldn’t sound out of place at all, heavy stuff this song is. Another highlight would be the fantastic “In The Valley Of Death, I Am Their King”. This is a slower, more rocked-out song and features some great fillers on the drums. The slight keyboard touches only add to the heavy atmosphere and thick sound. A Headbanger? You bet your ass.
As the band played on…
We come to the rock-fest of “Spectral Dance Of The Macabre”. You’d think this would be a title to one of those pooftier Gothic/Black Metal bands, but oh is it ever the opposite. Holy MOTÖHEADIAN rock-out Batman! Akhenaten seems to be firing on all (dirty) cylinders on this album and yet he keeps his groovy touch alive, and this song is proof. The album comes to a close with the insanity that is “The Dead Burst Forth From Their Tombs” which brings us back into the grim reality of JUDAS ISCARIOT, faster than hell and angrier than anything…just listen to the crazy guitar work, that’s Metal.
A fantastic swansong to the fantastic career of JUDAS ISCARIOT, and a fitting one as well, for “To Embrace The Corpses Bleeding” features some of the best songwriting Akhenaten had to offer; already a Black Metal classic and one of the best albums of this style to come out of the US. I give this album the Sam-patented “MANDATORY”. Resist all you want but remember kids, “None Shall Escape The Wrath”.
(Online February 21, 2007)