Iblis “Menthell” (2012)

There isn’t really much that can be said about this album that you can’t read out from the cover artwork. Look at it. A muscly-armed iguana-fish-man with moth wings, in deep red flames, slicing open the cog wheel reality, finding a velvet drape-firmament of white stars seeping into this reality, what/whereever it is. Look at its rich, vibrant colours, juxtaposed by the sharpness of the white sweeping title and vortex-eyed wicker/cuneiform logotype. Inside you find a cup of black coffee with the number 12 painted on it, out of which grows a cartoonish sycamore tree. (the colours on the physical cover are much darker and warmer than this brightly enhanced digital version.)

Now imagine this being the artwork for a funky and spaced out extreme metal foursome from Poland. Led by idiosyncratic vocalist Zgred, who reaches into the deepest pockets of obscure avant garde black metal vocal details and anecdotes*, this orchestra comes forth with a playfulness rarely heard in music this brutal. They hammer on pretty violently, in a manner & attitude not far from their countrymen in Behemoth, but enhancing the smattering blastbeats with intelligent and quirky riffs – especially the bassist Traktor has some nifty tunes going on that hark back to the glory days of Disharmonic Orchestra and late Lux Occulta. No need to go too deep into the actual musical content. They’re fast, they’re crazy. Enough is enough.

I was a bit too quick to write Menthell off at the onset, as simply a death/black metal band trying to be all weird and avantgardsy; it kind of sounds like that, at the start. Though behind what might come off as shallow mannerism, there is a lot of substance. Listen to the interlocking floating dynamics between the nimble drummer’s cymbals, the perambulant bass and the back-beat guitars on the seventh track. Dudes’ got their musicianship right where you want it, perfectly balanced with their keen and playful imagination. Could have done with perhaps 5-10 minutes more, but rather too short than too long. Wouldn’t mind having some more of this pitch-black coffee in the future. Damn fine coffee.

*ok perhaps not so obscure, but he fuses the peculiarities of Aldrahn, Vicotnik, S.M. Twice and Czral era 1996-1999 within the same verse. And whistles without coming off like a douche, which is a glory in itself.


Release:  10.03.2012
Label:  D.T.M. Productions
Avantgenre:  Nuklear Rock&Roll (with Coffee)
Duration:  31.01
Origin:  Poland
Official site:  None
Review online since:  10.05.2012 / 18:45:48


White Claudia
12 Sycamores
Poison In Your Food
Don’t Eat My Legs
Bill Skins Fifth

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