I am very familiar with the quirky and contradictory Grind ‘supergroup’ Stench Price, which boasted guest appearances from some legendary members of the Extreme Metal community. Now imagine a new project featuring just three founding minds from that past chunk of insane brilliance.
Isgherurd Morth – Hellrduk (Repose Records)
Release Date: Out now
Words: Jools Green
Stench Price sounded nothing like I imagined, but then when you consider the minds behind the project, Ghoul (Romain Goulon of Necrophagist / Benighted / Stench Price) on drums, Res (Max Konstantinov of Heavenwithus / Stench Price / Kamlath) on guitars and Pitom (Peter G. Shallmin of Stench Price / Escapethecult / Kamlath) on vocals, guitars and bass, all bring a wealth of varied experience. It does make sense that it would be so very different.
Enter Isgherurd Morth, with their debut album Hellrduk, which could not be more of a polar opposite to Stench Price. It is a sublime five-track thirty-one-minute album of Black Metal that reflects the band’s vision of the genre by paying homage to the 90s second wave sound. They blend it with modern Blackgaze elements, which the band promise will throw the listener into a deep soul-side journey interlaced with esoteric lyricism.
Hellrduk certainly does not disappoint. In terms of quality of composition, delivery and musicianship, this is a well-crafted release.
After a brief guitar intro, Inferhn opens like a storm. The hypnotic repetition of the pummeling drum work and wall of riffs are punctuated with acerbic vocals dropping back dramatically. This contrast of ebbing and flowing across the whole release draws you in and keeps you focused on the convoluted and complex nature of the music.
Following track, Kultth Tormentr continues from where its predecessor left off, but with a more brutal intent, with waves of rumbling unrelenting riffage. A bleak and dark entrancing track, especially with the addition of early-in sinister laughter and the hauntingly shrill closing leadwork, adding a whole new dimension.
Nokturahl opens with a quiet restraint that harbours sinister undertones. A slow smouldering builder of a track, where notably the bass lines and drum work weave themselves in and around the riffing and acerbic vocals. This adds an engaging complexity to the sound, reaching its zenith with brutal intent midway through the second half, paring back dramatically to the close in readiness for the very Avant-Garde drum dominated Lucir Stormalah. Here the riffs, very cleverly, have a secondary emphasis in favour of the drums, vocals and bass lines. It puts a different slant on the whole atmosphere off the track.
I love the bursts of drum work sandwiched between riffs as the final track Beliath Todd Grimr opens. It lays down a foundation for a complex and intriguing piece that flits from the sublime and wistful to the imposingly punchy. The low growling vocals balance against the higher acerbic ones adding a dialogue effect and contrast with clean, straightforward leadwork that has a rock feel and makes a statement of its own. Altogether an engagingly convoluted listen.
Hellrduk was mixed and mastered by Vladimir Ryaposov and Pitom at Di-Art Studio, Siberia, Krasnoyarsk, with artwork handcrafted by XUL1349.
A unique and cleverly crafted album that makes an end-to-end engaging listen.