Originally forming in 2011, “out of a necessity to make something out of the gloom that swirls around us all”, Canadian Experimental Black Metal quartet Idol Of Fear went on to release their debut full length All Sights Affixed, Ablaze in 2014.
This was an album that reshaped my perception of Black Metal at that time, with its innovative edge, a dark and dynamic sound, and a superb balance between melody and aggression, alongside harsh and scathingly raw yet clearly definable vocals.
Idol Of Fear – Trespasser (Somnolence Productions)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Jools Green
Since then, there has been a follow-up album, Grave Aperture, in 2018, which annoyingly slipped under my radar. Thankfully their third studio offering Trespasser, hasn’t managed to be such a slippery customer because this album is far too good to go unnoticed.
Since their debut, their sound has become increasingly sophisticated. They have “dedicated themselves to honing their craft, as it is work that they do not approach lightly.” This is very apparent in this latest offering, where “every lyric relates to a personal experience, but oftentimes certain elements seem to make their way through dreams and other nebulous connection points”.
End to end Trespasser has a magnificently bleak and darkly foreboding air throughout. The band have given their thoughts/ descriptions about each track, which I’ve included to give a bigger overall picture of this superb release.
Opening with The Flayed Horizon, whose lyrics “pertain to recurring dreams of utter pandemonium”, the slower deliberate pace, tribal sounding beats, and unnerving vitriolic and harsh vocalisations begin to develop that dark unnerving atmosphere.
With its personal lyrics based on loss, Angel Dust picks the pace up whilst maintaining a dark mood, with eerie riffing permeating the track and a very haunting mid-point drop away.
Cheirotonia is hauntingly atmospheric to open with a building air of foreboding. The vocals cut through you like a knife. “Musically, there is something tragic to this one,” the band says, “while carrying an air of mystery, the lyrics are bitter and somewhat sarcastic, but also triumphant and empowering.” A haunting, unnerving, but superb listen.
Featuring “spiteful lyrics based upon cathartic retribution”, Phantom crawls along in a dark, sinister manner, with blackened riffs, precise drum beats and acidic vocals, together causing the hair to stand on the back of the neck.
The title track, Trespasser, deals with intrusion into forbidden realms which the band describe as “the most dirge-like, spiritual song on the album.” It definitely has a dirge-like quality, in a good way, which makes it both sinister and atmospheric, thanks to the subtle use of organ work.
In The Cold Light Of Dawn is a more straightforward blackened offering, which the band describe as “a somewhat poppy song for us.” This comment raised a wry smile from me, thinking how it could affect the unsuspecting listener, but fans fear not. It’s still bleak and dark. Their comment refers to their “utilising more direct, catchy hooks and a straight-up structure,” which makes it as engaging as it is unnerving. If the rest of the tracks were not as superb as they are, this might have been my favourite track, but honestly, I’m not going to try to choose.
Alone With You is magnificently brooding with superb waves of guitar work and layered atmospheric vocals aiming at, and succeeding in creating a “violently brooding and cryptic atmosphere of betrayal,” especially when the distant echo of tormented but clean backing vocals punch through in the distance.
What You Came To Find , is “a cryptic dirge to lead you into the abyss…” With haunting choral elements to open, bleak riffs and haunting keyboards, you willingly walk toward the abyss as if summoned by an irresistible siren, concluding with the sombre and reflective Endless.
As superb as I thought All Sights Affixed, Ablaze was, I can’t help but marvel how far Idol Of Fear have come in eight years with Trespasser. It’s a superb offering and still holds within their sound that wonderful air of unnerving strangeness.
This is perfect for a band whose name was inspired by a quote from Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 movie Det Sjunde Inseglet (The Seventh Seal):
“We must make an idol of our fear and that idol we shall call God.”