Ilsa Intoxicantations

Have you ever seen Combat Shock, that Troma film that's really weird, droning and hard to watch? You're not really sure if it's art house brilliant or a total mess made by a couple of guys who don't really know anything about making a movie. Ilsa are kind of like that. They might be channelling Celtic Frost, Bathory and any number of other bands or they might just be lazily strumming away at sleepy, doom-ish chords for three quarters of an hour. It's not that this is a bad album, but the proportions of crust, doom and black metal are out of balance. The tracks are either too sleepy or when they do reach a tempo showcasing the Ilsa's obvious energy and skill, the toned-down keys suck the power out of things. That said, there are some definite strengths here, such as Ilsa's DC-born demonic urban sound and a knack for sludgy hooks. Intoxicantations is the band's second LP, so time will tell if they'll develop a more mature sound that can either fully accommodate or accurately combine all the influences they're drawing upon. (A389)