It's nice to hear that there still are bands out there that try to continue Black Metal, solely in the "2nd wave" style, which was made popular by such acts as DARKTHRONE, GORGOROTH and others. ISRATHOUM is a band from the Netherlands with a great deal of balls and ambition. Its members seem to be around the scene long enough, since they all have some kind of second project, also focused on Black Metal, or at least on some form of Extreme Metal. Now we all know the scene is dying and becoming bland and lifeless as all the pop stuff out there, so let's take a closer look and see why "Monument Of Brimstone" is not one of those puppet master tricks.
To start it off, the tone and production, while being quite good and clear for this kind of standard, aren't that awful to listen too, since the overall atmosphere manages to create a very fine aura around it. The haunting atmosphere itself is not only due to the production, but also to the good delivery of the vocalist and the interesting way the songs themselves progress. The tone seemingly drifts into depths, which is probably achieved by the reverb in the guitars, which is just right, so they do not overdo it. The song structures themselves are nothing out of the ordinary, but as beforementioned, they simply fulfil their purpose in creating the exact dark and gloomy atmosphere that one would normally only find in gothic novels.
Now many Black Netal bands to date are the same generic late 90s bands who hopelessly try to revive the genre that died years ago. I'm not saying ISRATHOUM are the revolutionary force, which has arrived with a vengeance to dig up the graves, but still, they manage to entertain quite well, inducing nostalgia to everybody who knows what Black Metal was, when it stood tall. The chanting found here is also done right, not too loud and overwhelming, very much in the vein of ENSLAVED, early GEHENNA or even DISSECTION at times. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this cd, if you are looking for a step out of the typical circle of bands and albums, which have achieved legendary status.
The CD is good. The production works. The songs are authentic and inspired. I benchmark it good.
(Online July 22, 2009)