Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Washington, DC doom metal masters Ilsa unveil their sixth full-length album, bringing feral certainty to a world of indecision.

The first music of Ilsa’s I heard was Corpse Fortress (2018), well into the history of the band. What a great album. The music is Doom Metal in a very active sense, with no dragging or overdrawn moments. It is intense, and I expected the same from the new one, Preyer. It is all that and more.

“Epigraph” has a voiceover for the entire song where a Satanist discusses killing someone as part of what appears to be an interview. This is about Sean Sellers, a convicted murderer, and the album has this notion as its starting point. The music is heavily distorted and begins in the background. By the end of the song the positions are reversed with the voice becoming more distant and the music taking the forefront. “Poor Devil” is next and it is the first step after launch. The fully formed doom vision of the band is instantly in play and there is no looking back.

The pace is variegated but the filling line is not. The vocals on every track sounds like the world depends on the message getting through. The lead work is penetrating and the rhythm sets solid steel railing. The Punk intentions are plainer on some songs, like “Shibboleth,” and on others, like “Mother of God,” Doom lays it hands on heavy and presses hard. The title song is like a mad monk’s manifesto and the closer, “The Square Coliseum,” slides the stone lid over the sarcophagus of ruin in a final, terminal jolt. The place where solace lives is not accessible from this musical world.

Preyer is out this Friday, November 20th. It is a welcome addition to the band’s burgeoning canon. Recommended.

Band photo by Maire O’Sullivan.


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Ilsa, Preyer review (Relapse Records 2020)

Psychosomatic, The Invisible Prison review (Nefarious Industries 2020)

Sacramento Thrash Metal band Psychosomatic roll out lucky number seven, The Invisible Prison.

There should be more Thrash, I think. The heavy music landscape has tilted toward Doom and Death over the past many years. Thrash is still out there, though, alive and well and personified by bands like Exodus, Testament, [insert your favorite Thrash bands here], and Psychosomatic who keep putting out great music. This band has been around for more than thirty years, and they are just as fierce as ever. The lineup is founder Jeff Salgado (bass, lead vocals), Daniel Mills (guitars, vocals), Viktor Hansen (guitars, vocals), and Toby Swope (drums).

The album is twelve towering tracks, starting with “We Don’t Trust You,” which is enough to make me remember this one forever. You know it is all fast, loud, and thrumming, with the pedal to the floor all the way through so I don’t have to tell you that. Picking over the songs for highlights is something of a chore because of the solid nature of the entire set. Along with the opener, the title track stands out as being to most frenetic of the bunch in both rhythm and lead. It’ll ring your ears. There is an excellent cover of the Vio-lence song “Serial Killer” which is not to be missed – Decibel magazine is premiering that track so you can hear it in advance of the album’s release if you head over to their website. “Agents of Surveillance” is the shortest song and it might also be the most savage in a stabby kind of way. When you listen to the album you will find your own favorites and make a list to add to your saved songs on Spotify. It is going to raise your blood pressure.

August 28th is the drop date for The Invisible Prison with all the usual attributes of download, physicals, and bundles at Bandcamp and the Nefarious Industries sites. Trust might be thin on the ground but this album is a thrash-fest guarantee. Recommended.

Band photo by Michael Alvarez.


Psychosomatic, The Invisible Prison review (Nefarious Industries 2020)