Israthoum – Arrows from Below (Review)

Israthoum - Arrows from BelowThis is the fourth album from black metallers Israthoum, who are from the Netherlands, (although Portugal originally).

I enjoy Israthoum’s work, and urge you to also check out Black Poison and Shared Wounds, Antru Kald, and Channeling Death and Evil. This new album gives us 31 minutes of darkness, and finds Israthoum’s orthodox take on the style to still be hugely enjoyable.

The music is raw and harsh, but not without melody or mood-building abilities. This is black metal played the old way, with aggression and atmosphere perfectly proportioned depending on the needs of the music. The songs have plenty of personality and charisma, despite being played in such a recognisably blackened way. This may be old-school black metal, but Israthoum continue to walk their own path into its well-travelled forests.

Some of the leads involved on these songs are particularly noteworthy, adding layers of depth and definition to the dark rhythms and scything guitars. The drums hit satisfyingly, and the interplay between all of the various instruments is well-judged. The music is well-written overall, and this is an album that’s easy to play over and over again.

Blackened screams tear through the music with grim abandon. Traditionally delivered, these form the bulk of the vocal delivery and perform their role nicely. I also like, however, the more varied approach to singing taken here and there; this runs the spectrum from rough shouts to semi-cleans, to full clean singing. These vocal embellishments add yet another string to Israthoum’s bow, especially as they’re not overused.

Arrows from Below is a very strong album, and contains some of Israthoum’s best work, in my humble opinion. It may come late to 2019, but it’s definitely one of the better black metal releases unleashed this year.

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