Australian Black Metal band Ichor have just released their second full length album “The Black Raven”
Though they formed back in 1993, it was not until 2018 that Ichor released their first full-length album. Hosting six tracks of icy cold slow to mid-paced BM, nevertheless, it was a solid piece of music.
Onto this new offering then.. For a start, you will notice that there are only 5 tracks on this album. Two of just over ten minutes in length, one of nine, and two of6 minutes, giving a total playing time of just over 43 minutes. So, you’ve guessed it, these are pretty epic songs.
Onwards to battle…
With no lyric sheet to guide me, and just going off the song titles, I’m getting the vibe of an army going to war. So I was hoping for some nice aggressive metal in the vein of say Nokturnal Mortum, or Drudkh. What hits is a cold, sharp riff, akin to a scalpel blade being run down the length of your arm. However, it’s soon clear that these guys are not about playing it fast.
Akin to their first full length, this is much the same in terms of the pace of the songs. These are slow, almost doom style speeds, which on this opening track is working rather well. Yes, the riffs are very simple, as is the drumbeat, but combined with the vocals are very effective. And yes, those vocals – it sounds like they were recorded in an ice cave. Very cold, and with that suggestion of a vast open space within the ice – nice and echoey.
Halfway through, we get an ambient break, that sounds like the crooning of spirits within our imagined ice cave. this lasts for about 30 seconds before the main riff, and vocals return.
What goes for one, goes for all
Herein lies my issues with this album. The first track is great, but then it’s pretty much the same for the remaining 4 tracks. Yes, there are variations in the tone, but not enough to make anyone song stand out. Had this been released as a single track, it would work so much better.
That main criticism aside, this is well played and has a proper old school production and sound on the vocals. You can discern the bassline within the riffs, and it’s nice not to have everything buried under a torrent of blast beats.
If you like black and funeral doom metal, then this album will likely appeal to you. For me, it’s just that bit too “samey” across the full playing time. This means I would have to be in the mood for some slow stuff to want to play this again.
The album is out on Seance Records on a strictly limited run of 500 CDs from their website below, or as a digital download from their Bandcamp site.
Journey – 10:43
Broken Land – 10:14
Veles Is Here – 9:13
Fight, Blood, Fire, Hate – 06:51
Black Raven – 06:16
Total playing time – 43:17
- CD $15.00 AUD/ Download £7.00 AUD