Ever since I first heard – and loved – 2012’s Intoxicantations, I’ve been a big fan of Ilsa. Across another two full-lengths – 2015’s The Felon’s Claw and 2018’s Corpse Fortress they haven’t let me down, and they don’t seem to have done so on their latest corker either; Preyer contains 46 minutes of brutal darkness, the likes of which we’ve come to expect from Ilsa.
The music combines doom, punk, and foul metallic heaviness into the sort of sludge metal that hits hard, and then hits some more. Ilsa know what the darkness feels like, and they channel this into songs that rip, tear, and bludgeon with wild, yet focused, abandon.
Ilsa have been doing this for a while now, and know very well what makes a good record. First and foremost you need songs, which they have an abundance of, and good ones too. Then you need attitude, character, and personality, which they have in bucketfuls as well. Add to this some ace riffs, a sideline in engaging melodies, and the sort of distorted doomy heaviness that makes the songs sound absolutely crushing, and you have yet another first-rate metal album.
The band also have an exceptional vocalist, and his distinctive snarled delivery is great to hear once more. His voice, combined with the in-your-face guitars, go a long way to making this album as catchy and memorable at it is. More catchy and memorable than anything this filthy and nasty has any right to really be.
Raw, visceral, and filled with grim belligerence, Preyer is everything you’d want from an Ilsa album.
Essential listening for any metalhead.