We, as humans, are fickle creatures. We have weak stomachs for controversy, and therefor avoid it whenever possible. We encourage those around us to voice their opinions, until they run contrary to our own. We sometimes want our musical heroes, sports starts, and government officials to speak out for or against things, then chastise them for saying the "wrong" thing. So there is something refreshing in speaking of the unspoken, bringing light to something that will never make the mainstream media outlets. Seeds Of Iblis bill themselves as anti Islamic black metal, a sentiment that many in the western world might not expect, especially coming from a country like Iraq. But their insightful, thought provoking assertions about the current state of the Islamic world, and the many warring factions that make it up, are eye opening, at minimum. Their debut album, "Anti Quran Rituals," brings together this forward thinking, openly defiant mindset, with a black metal assault on your sonic threshold that, when done right, seems to go hand in hand.
It doesn't take long to dive into the sea of clanging metal and intense screams. The layers of "From Mecca to Jahannam" crash together recklessly, with no buffer space in between. But as the drums and guitars form a single mass, beautiful chants poke in and out of the mix, always finding their way to the front. It becomes a stark contrast to the main vocal line, which scrapes against your inner ear. One glance at the lyrics and you find that the delivery mirrors the intensity of the story. It takes like "Qamar (Islamic Lies P.1)" to raise awareness of just how profound this unique take on black metal can be. Voices cascade in the background, leaving only a spoken word portion in the fore. It's simplicity is it's strength, something that may not become completely evident until you are knee deep in "72 Virgins," no pun intended. It is here that the album makes its biggest statement; decrying the promise of virgins in heaven, for killing on Earth. The words speak so much louder than any amount of distortion ever could. It seems t be no coincidence, then, that this is also one of the most pulverizing, yet melodically tinged tracks on the album. Only the booming thud of the kick drum stands apart on "Behind the Horns of Allah," each beat pushing your sub woofers to their limit.But as the track progresses, there is a distinct change; piano keys and a female voice take over, a haunting combination that seems to be a full 180 degree reversal.
One of the true victories of the album at large, is the ability to mirror the importance of the subject matter, with an equally prudent musical accompaniment. Songs like "The Prophecy Of Rape" stand out not only with their titles, but because they are delivered with such force and conviction. The raw aspect of the mix is well used, which makes the more crisp "Qabr (Islamic Lies P.2)" all the more impactful. But perhaps no song will stick to your inner music fan more than "Islamophobia." It may not be the best track in the bands catalog, or even the best on the album itself; but there is something in its construction that makes it easily addicting. Whether it be the seemingly endless stream of double kicks or just the overwhelming brutality of it all, it stands as a headbangers dream. A soothing outro fades in, and subsequently fades out, leaving only the final duo of tracks, "Sura 9" and "Allah Is Dead" to come. The former is a full speed ahead pounding, with guitar, bass and drums locking together in one massive down beat. There is no room for subtleties here, as the mix fills to overflowing levels of distortion. The latter track, though, is a complete departure. piano keys, chants and a slowed pace comprise the bulk of the offering, leaving a lasting impression, if not a completely different on than you started with.
Finding balance between message and delivery method can be a tricky endeavor, with one usually dominating the other, rendering it moot. But Seeds Of Iblis have found that middle ground; they use their lyrics and vocal delivery to bring their viewpoint and opinion to the foreground, while still creating a chaotic and sonically pleasing instrumental. The way the two coexist is a lesson in itself. But our ability to separate our feelings on the subject matter from the music helps to define the success of the album as a whole. In the case of "Anti Quran Rituals," the honesty of it all makes for an impressive combination of
thought and action. They've harnessed that raw power of black metal, much like the founding fathers of the genre did years ago, and used it to shine the spotlight on their topic of choice. While the bands of the past wanted to burn churches and end Christianity, this version stands up and speaks out against the same radical Islamic tenets. They may not be one and the same, but the spirit in both is strong. Agree or disagree, it is a message, and an album, too powerful to ignore.
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