Ilsa – Corpse Fortress (Review)

IlsaThis is the fifth album from US sludge metal band Ilsa.

Ilsa are well-known around these parts for being prime suppliers of dirty, heavy, riff-driven kicking metallic sludge. 2015’s The Felon Claw and 2012’s Intoxicantations in particular were both huge, crushing records which still get regular rotation from yours truly.

Enter Corpse Fortress.

Ilsa’s brand of doom, crust, and death metal-influenced sludge metal is as undiminished as ever on this latest release. Ilsa have a raw heaviness that’s so weighty it feels like your speakers are going to start sinking into the floor. Corpse Fortress is a very, very heavy record. However, it’s not without nuance or melody, and the band know instinctively when to flatten and demolish with raw power, and when it’s preferable to go for a more emotively crushing delivery. And of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive either.

Have I mentioned this is a very heavy band? No? Well they are. This heaviness is forged and tempered into the types of riffs that a lot of bands would kill for. Ilsa have always had an ear for a good riff, and Corpse Fortress is swarming with them. Whether slow, mid-paced, or fast, the band write their music with an obvious heartfelt passion and a natural instinct for what makes a good sludge tune.

It’s great to hear the singer’s distinctive snarl once more. He manages to parcel a lot of character and presence into his harsh delivery, providing a core of vicious, serrated vocals for the thunderously heavy music to crowd around.

Corpse Fortress is 48 minutes of squealing feedback, belligerent attitude, weighty guitars, slamming drums, and first-rate heaviness.

Highly recommended for any fan of heavy music.

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