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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Judas Iscariot

Here’s another slab of love-it-hate-it black metal, the stylings of one man band Judas Iscariot. Akhenaten’s music is best described as true Norwegian black metal from America. Few acts come as close to duplicating that style as he does. DISTANT IN SOLITARY NIGHT is certainly no departure from this sensibility, which we JI fans can rejoice in. The true black style isn’t so prevalent nowadays, and it’s good to be able to rely on someone.

As usual the riffs are styled mainly in the vein of DARKTHRONE and BURZUM at their most primitive, prolonged and repetitious melodies. In the case of "The Wind Stands Silent," "The Black Clouds Roll Under the Parapet of the Sky," and "To the Black Tower of Victory" the melodic stylings receive extremely fast tempos. They are just shy of blasting, about as fast as you can play without actually doing so.

Many criticize Akhenaten for having noticeable mistakes in his drumming, but I doubt they’re really unplanned, and I don’t find them to be very distracting. It’s just all part of that intimately raw style. Some will just call that an excuse, but it’s something you either identify with or don’t. More relaxed tempos inhabit "Where the Winter Beats Incessant" and "In the Bliss of the Eternal Valleys of Hate," where the BURZUM influences really show up. "The Clean Moon, and the Glory of the Darkness" is mostly guitar without drums, in the style of ISENGARD and BURZUM’s "The Crying Orc."

The album concludes with "Portions of Eternity Too Great for the Eye of Man," a spoken outro backed by a verrrrry repetitive synth line. It’s an extremely long track for its simplicity, and you’ll either succumb to its atmosphere or stop the album at that point. If you liked past JUDAS ISCARIOT endeavors you’ll find this to be another jewel in the crown, and if you have a bent toward Black Metal at its most raw and primitive, it’s well worth seeking out.


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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