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7/10 Mladen

IMMOLITH - Hymns to the Countess - CD - Carrion Crawler Records - 2009

review by: Mladen Škot

Once again, it's not about the budget that was involved in making a record, but about intangible things such as inspiration, feeling, conviction and blood. Yes, we know blood is quite a tangible thing, but what if you can hear it, feel it, and see, it rather that touch it?

If we didn't know better, our guess would be that Immolith are one of those crazy old school Greek or maybe German black metal bands. However, Immolith are from New Jersey. And their version of old school is gloriously charming, low budget, a bit rough around the edges, but done right. The drums are obviously an e-kit, but Immolith aren't trying to make them sound or play like a wooden one. And, for Hymns to the Countess, they might even have been the perfect choice. If the guitars are unstoppable, cold and trebly, if the vocals are bloody, freezing rasps, and if the songs themselves are relentless and persuasive, why make the drums any less inhuman? To Immolith's credit, the volume levels of all instruments are perfect, which certainly adds to the "repeated listening" value.

Contrary to current "trends," Immolith write actual riffs, and making actual songs, and on this 4-track, self-released EP, there is hardly a wasted moment. It's not all terribly original, but sometimes all we need are direct, real songs.

The beginning is solid: the opening mid-blasting track could be a little shorter, but it sets the tone right, gets you used to the sound, and if you're playing this EP on "repeat," it's fine. Then, the next one is amazing — it's called "Slaughter the Legions" and its marching riffs and a glorious lead around the middle would make even Immortal proud.

After that, you get the title track, which is a six-minute bloodshed of constant guitars going high and low, until you curiously notice a shattering drum pattern. This one might not have the best riffs ever, but shows that Immolith know how to handle atmosphere, changing the proceedings just as much as necessary to keep the listener hooked and thinking that much more is happening than it actually is (that's a good thing). The last one is, appropriately, a "Countess Bathory" cover, and it rocks as much as the original.

What we have here is a highly promising band — if Immolith can continue writing as different and as convincing songs as these, we can only expect good things from them. Taking good care of every aspect of this release, Immolith didn't forget to match the bloody atmosphere with an equally macabre cover: We've seen naked women soaked in blood before, but this interpretation of countess Bathory isn't really pleasant to look at. Thus, it's probably more realistic and historically correct than the Cradle of Filth's flowery version, or whoever else used the theme before (Kamelot?). And yes, along with the pro-printed CD-R you also get a poster of the abovementioned art. The last time we checked, the price for the whole package was $4, so you're bloodily advised to pick it up. (7/10)


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