"The Isolationist"

By Matthulu

This is perhaps one of the most aptly titled American black metal albums ever produced. The "low fi" undercurrent to Krieg's "The Isolationist" contradicts itself by doing what black metal does best; creating moods out of the filth of incidental noise. Not a scrap of sound is wasted but manipulated. It's not about making sure you score the worst recording studio as it is about craftsmanship. That being said, "Isolationist" is like being locked up in a rusty iron cage and dropped by helicopter into one ofthe world's most bleak and dismal places. This album explores insanity, fear, alienation and futile rage almost categorically while extrapolating scrap moments of false empowerment.

The first two tracks were competent though unremarkable to me and I began to worry that the entire album would pan out as such. Then came "All Paths to God". The song pulls you into something melancholy only to force you into the mania of a bad meth withdrawal. The rage builds throughout only to subside in a cold, angry acceptance of the unacceptable - like watching your leg get amputated. With "Ambergeist" Krieg manages to slow your mind down and your heart up, playfully breaking intomad diversions and settling into a single-minded, Celtic Frost - like hate anthem. This is somewhat common throughout the album and it aids in making the songs more iconic and memorable without sacrificing the artful turbulence.

There is no lack of strangeness or experimentation with "The Isolationist". "Religion III" is a bizarre, multi - faceted,synth track coupled with barbaric, tribal drumming and the last quarter of "...and the stars fell on" exhibits some wicked noise that will make you check and see if sewer rats are chewing on your speaker wires. There is plenty to disturb and exhilarate you on this album. In grand, black metal tradition, Krieg will cut you with something wretched once you become comfortable with the chaos. "Isolationist" is a total mind fuck.