Aside from releasing a split 12″ with Hooded Menace, it seems that Ilsa’s name has been ignored by most doom and metal fans for reasons I cannot, and refuse, to comprehend. Since their first album in 2009, the Maggots are hungry, they have released a superb collection of albums that any doom and death metal fans should own. Their guitar sound is everything you want to hear in both genres: Dark, crisp, full of lows rather than highs and huge, really huge. In fact, even if the guitar tone on Intoxicantations was not as big as the one on Tutti il colori del buio, this one see them return to that suffocating feeling you get when you are overloaded with heaviness. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Although they stand in-between doom and death metal, Ilsa‘s song are mostly around the 3 minutes mark, with a few going over six, and one eight minute long (but not the last one, as you would expect from a metal album). This means that the band does not try to push their material past the enjoyability limit. The songs are all well build and entertaining with headbangable riffs aplenty. On the other hand, there are no instantly recognizable choruses but that as never stopped Autopsy from being awesome as far as I am concerned.
As for the vocals, they sound like a throatier Martin Van Drunen (Asphyx), which is quite a good reference point for the overall music Ilsa‘s plays, or early Paradise Lost like on Pandolpho with it’s mournful and melodic solo. With a good mix of slow and faster songs, The felon’s claw offers the best material as written to date and should finally see them get the recognition they deserved. If I sound too much like a fan, it’s because I am, and the reason want them to succeed is because I would like to come over to Europe in the near future. So head first into this album and dig their back catalog (which is still widely available). There is nothing wrong with sleeping on a band, but it would be disgraceful to ignore them when they are so blatantly awesome.