Ilsa – “Corpse Fortress” (Relapse Records)
Appropriately hailing from the nation’s capital, Ilsa serve up some of the best death/doom/crust on the planet! These guys have been going since 2008 and “Corpse Fortress” is their 5th album, showing no signs of any let up whatsoever. Hewn in some unspeakable place, this abomination has been force fed large doses of Darkthrone, EyeHateGod, Iron Monkey, Celtic Frost and of course, Death, taking in the best of ’em and mixing it up nastily to produce some of the most awesome nuclear waste dirge you’re ever likely to hear. Think reverb drenched sludge with just the right doses of feedback to send you clawing at the walls, along with Orion’s horror shrieks and Joshy’s double bass beats inducing the right d-beat groove and you’ll be pretty close to the 9 tracks here. From the ultra grim ‘Cosmos Antinomos’ with its tribal beats mixing with some crucial diddly dee riffing as Orion’s raw screamo drawls deliver a menacing tone charged with ugly, dark energy to the syrup thick fuzz overdrive of ‘Hikikomori’ with its mind bending riffs evilly twisting around your mind, there is little left to doubt on the destructive power here, but equally the highly intelligent arrangements and incredible hooks, catches and perfection in the sound that really makes this album such a gem. Favourite track for me was the old school Crowbar meets Motorhead power driver of ‘Old Maid’, complete with a banshee of a bitch dualling on the ‘vocal’ shrieks – yeah, you really will be a walking corpse after this one ha ha.