This little 25 minute MCD contains some of the best Brutal Death Metal I've ever heard.
Hailing from Belgium, ILL FARES THE LAND take the influences from American bands like SUFFOCATION, MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE, etc. and Polish bands, such as BEHEMOTH, VADER, etc. Yep. Uncompromising musical brutality is what you expected, and that's what you got.
Brutal Death Metal is what this band plays, and boy do they play it well. Not much in terms of originality, but the sheer fact that they have produced an aggressive, technical, heavy, fast, somewhat melodic and tight-as-hell release allows you to overlook that fact and enjoy this release. The guitars sound thick and destructive, opting for a 'wall-of-sound' approach, with the drumming varying between blast-beats and some interplay between the many pieces of his kit. Fear not, haters of the dreaded blast beat. The riffs that are backed by them REQUIRE them, as any other drum pattern will sound just awkward under the riffing. The singer also spews forth his poison with conviction and power, making the whole onslaught much more sinister. And you can understand what he's saying! (By following the lyric sheet ;-)) Unfortunately, not one note of bass guitar was heard (I like to hear the bass!).
The riffing reminds me of BEHEMOTH and SUFFOCATION (not that I'm complaining), but there are also sections that are more straightforward and groovy. The injection of those slow catchy parts creates a certain dynamic, giving you room to breathe, and allowing a certain riff to get stuck into your head. There are also some other semi-melodic breaks, reminding me of THE HAUNTED and DARKANE, showing more restrain within the riffs (although they're still quite technical), going more for a semi-melody that will haunt you instead of the attack on all senses provided by most of the music. The technical aggressive riffing complemented by those little breaks twists and turns your mind and allows you to go deeper into the world of ILL FARES THE LAND, where chaos reigns and calamities are a fact of every day life, and a certain impending disaster (the apocalypse) will come forth any time now. And I enjoyed every minute of it.
There unfortunately aren't any solos on this album, but to be honest, if the song doesn't call for a solo, what's the point of putting one in? This band is trying to pummel you into submission with their music. If a solo deters the band from its goal, why bother putting one in?
This release is recommended to all fans of Brutal Technical Death Metal. It's something you've heard before, and will hear again, but the songs are extremely well written, and that's what counts. (Online March 9, 2003)