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Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Illum Adora – Ophidian Kult

Label: Folter Records

Date: September 3rd, 2021

Well isn’t this just the worst possible date to release anything metal related! I mean, the whole heavy metal world, including, I presume, the band members and the label owners, will be turning their ears to a certain island in northwestern Europe where a certain old-timer is publishing their own new record. On that very same day!

Okay, the Irons have probably picked a random date, and Folter Records had it planned first, but still…

Joking aside, I’ve always had high expectations from Folter releases. Someone out there definitely has a similar set of ears to my own and many of their bands have gained a lot of respect in my book. Many of them have gotten quite big on the worldwide underground scene, too. So, good job on picking them out of the bunch.

However, the guys from this renowned German label have their rare days off. At least for my personal taste. The day when they signed Illum Adora was one of them.

Now, wait, don’t stop reading here. You have yet to hear my reasoning. And I believe I’m being fair here. The most serious issue with Illum Adora is definitely their pace with composing new material. This is their third outing in three years and the fourth is (as the promo sheet informs me) also in the final stages of production, if not already set to go out.

The problem is that there is not enough quality on this album to make anyone stop in awe of what this German band has prepared. There is some promise of higher achievements, but there is much more simplistic primitiveness around. Even that would not be such a bad thing if there was more thought put into the shape in which these parts come out.

The other thing that I find wrong on this record is the diversity, so highly proclaimed in the mentioned promo sheet. Illum Adora is a black metal band. Quite a simple explanation. Still, they take from all sides of the genre at hand and try to fuse it into a recognizable mix of their own. Yes, the promo sheet is correct, there is some of that early Desaster rudeness involved. Early Summoning epic touches are obvious. Also, new Satyricon material comes in handy with describing Illum Adora, but to a smaller degree. And there are a couple of doom metal episodes thrown in here and there.

As you might have already figured out, these diverse approaches to black metal are infinitely difficult to combine. It’s like united colors (or lack thereof) of black metal. From raw to symphonic. From epic atmosphere to rough crudeness. From melodic leads to buzzing riffing. From infernal screams to whispered clean voice. All of it makes for “Ophidian Kult”. And none takes the reigning position. It all floods into one another without a concrete pillar to hold it all together.

On the plus side, there are some very good moments on the album. It is up to everyone’s own personal taste to figure out which part will suit the best. Though it cannot be all parts, some will surely stick with you to some extent.

Like I wrote above, there is a promise of good black metal within the “Ophidian Kult”, but the promise is still far from being fulfilled.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Tell me, how much time did you spend on the front cover? If it took more than fifteen minutes, you are wasting your time on completely wrong stuff. All the clichés of the black metal world shoveled into one photograph hardly make for an impressionable cover. More effort next time, please!