Tuesday, 13 January 2015

IZAH - Sistere (Album Review)

Sistere cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 01st March 2015
Label: Nordvis Produktion

Sistere – Track Listing

1.Indefinite Instinct
3.Finite Horizon


Hailing from Tilburg, The Netherlands, IZAH takes elements of sludge, noise, hardcore and post-rock and blends these into a dark and gloomy mix of heavy riffs, downhearted melodics and densely layered sound dynamics. After having released two EP’s, IZAH played numerous shows with the likes of Baroness, Mono, Cult of Luna, Celeste, Wolves in the Throne Room and The Ocean.

2015 sees the release of IZAH’s debut album Sistere for which the band joined forces with producer Jochem Jacobs (ex-Textures). Sistere, to be released through Nordvis Produktion, has become a heartfelt 72 minute long musical narration through darkness and light, hope and despair. In four heavy atmospheric compositions IZAH takes the listener from serene post-rock passages to crushing hardcore grooves, from dark ambient to free form noise and from hypnotising black metal to massive walls of sludge.


Tijs van Wegberg - drums
Frans Terhorst - bass
Twan Bastiaansen - guitar
Roel van Oosterhout - guitar
Michel de Jong - synth / guitar
Sierk Entius - vocals / synth


Hailing from Tilburg, the home of the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands, it is no surprise that Izah deliver a heathy dose of heaviness on their mammoth debut “Sistere”.

Following a brief introductory swelling drone, opener “Indefinite Instinct” begins proper as the band strike into an ominous groove of spacious ringing chords and guttural vocals, reminiscent of fellow countrymen Ortega, signalling dark times ahead. It is not too long before this prophecy is fulfilled and a crushing Isis-style attack descends to satisfying effect. The band then continue to travel on a winding journey through soaring heaviness for the rest of the track’s 14 minute duration.

Instead of retreading the ground covered by “Indefinite Instinct”, “Duality” takes things in a more metallic, less melodic direction. Kicking off with some up-tempo riffing similar to German post metallers The Ocean, an atmosphere of building unease is then established during a drumless mid-section where samples of news reports of the Unabomber play over ominous chugging. This gives way to the slowest, most crushing riff on the album that recalls underrated Relapse bruisers, Minsk.

It is often the case with bands that favour lengthy songs based on build and release dynamics that albums can be hard slogs through 6 or 7 slight variations of the same peaks and troughs to wearying effect. Although “Sistere” is a massive record, getting through a mere four tracks during the course of its 70 minute duration, it’s to Izah’s credit that they manage to keep things interesting throughout.

Third track “Finite Horizon” shakes things up yet again. An ever-changing introductory section encompasses heavy grooves, big stoner riffs, shifting tempos, melodic calm and piercing discordance before building to an anthemic, reverb-laden melodic climax with clean vocals.

While most bands would be happy to call it a day after 45 minutes of complex, engaging songwriting, Izah take a plunge into the deep end with the monolithic 30+ minute title track of “Sistere”. Whilst the previous tracks on the album generally cover ground that has been well trodden by other artists, albeit in fine style, this is the point where Izah really establish their own identity. It can be easy to craft an incredibly long song by simply stringing together lots of different ideas and styles and hoping for the best.

Sistere” however manages to cover miles of musical ground with each section flowing seamlessly into the next without any parts seeming bolted on or unnecessary. The track begins in familiar atmospheric post metal territory but gets more interesting when the tempo is pushed to breakneck speed bringing an air of black metal to proceedings. Izah then manage to traverse sample and beat laden electronics, full brass arrangements and a lengthy period of feedback and droning. The audacity of this track really marks Izah out amongst their peers, and if they can channel and apply this ambition on future releases they could achieve something very special. They can be proud of what they achieved with their debut which will be sure to win them many fans during 2015.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks to Nordvis Produktion for the promo. Sistere will be available to buy on March 1st 2015 from Nordvis Produktion.

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