Listening to “The Ichneumon Method” is like snorkelling through a tar pit. Each time you come up for air, the oily blackness drags you back down so that you can only snatch a quick gasp before being pulled again into the inky depths.
Comparisons have been made between this album and ANAAL NATHRAKH’s “The Codex Necro”. I agree with that statement from the point of view of intensity, but there, by and large, it ends. Whereas “The Codex Necro” is a lesson in violence (you won’t soon forget), “The Ichneumon Method“ is a more sinister affair, dealing with the spoil and filth of mankind. Though it seems that industry is included within the soundscape, this is not Industrial Black Metal. There is a cloying thickness to the music which seems at odds to the blast of programmed drumming, nonetheless this adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere. The guitar-work slices at you like a man possessed, a deranged surgeon wielding his scalpel intent on carnage.
The album opener, “A Ruined Nation Awakes”, rips at you like a tunnel borer, flesh and bone proving to be no resistance. The great thing about programmed drums is that you can crank them up to ridiculous speed, and if done with an expert hand as is the case here, then you may as well surrender there and then. The guitars are incisive, there is no thrashing, just surgically honed riffs parting skin and muscle. The vocals throughout the album are heavily effects laden, reverbed growls relentlessly predicting apocalypse.
The dynamics throughout the CD are varied, the drums providing the main impression of speed. The guitars are expressed intelligently and hold attention at all times. Samples are used frequently but appropriately and there is no sweetness and light to be found anywhere here. The listener has to be prepared to involve themselves in the experience, and despite the relative immediacy of the first track there is hard work ahead which will reward perseverance.
The third track “Nightmare Suspension” is a perfect description of “The Ichneumon Method” as a whole, this could be the soundtrack to one of those crazed half man half machine twisted maniac stalking the back streets of Tokyo films. As you listen you half expect to hear someone whisper “Don’t look behind you.” Though the majority of the tracks are a maelstrom of guitar scales, jackhammer drums and demonic vocals, “Forms On The Other Side Of Silence” is a documentary style spoken word passage supported by samples and twisted electronics that seems to depict a post Armageddon landscape filled with all sorts of atrocities. It does not paint a pretty picture.
In all “The Ichneumon Method” is a pitch-black masterpiece. It ignores convention, yet is unreservedly and blatantly Black Metal. For those of you who may wish to attempt the aural equivalent of fighting for your life buried up to the neck in quicksand, futilely attempting to reach firm ground, then look no further. (Online October 1, 2004)