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"Ichor" (Nuclear Blast/Spinefarm)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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What happens when time, care, and craftsmanship combine in the musical realm called metal? The result would surely be something similar to The Black League's "Ichor." Rough Edge must give credit to Nuclear Blast for licensing "Ichor" from Finland's top metal label Spinefarm for the proper and widespread distribution it deserves.

Taneli Jarva (ex-Sentenced) has joined forces with Sir Luttinen (ex-Impaled Nazarene) to create a band that undoubtedly has a classic Finnish metal sound yet cannot be compared to any other band. The music of The Black League, as one might NOT expect, bears a familiar resemblance to recent Sentenced and really doesn't remind me of old Sentenced or Impaled Nazarene at all.

The Black League took their time in the writing and recording of "Ichor" and the result is track after track of strong material with no filler.  Everything is a predominantly mid-paced affair throughout "Ichor" with some faster material and slower, atmospheric sounding material to spruce things up. The melodies and lead lines are quite exquisite and challenging.

The Black League's music is like a serum of blessed agony - pain and fear struck by unending chaos and the callous weight of the unknown.  Tunes like "Bunker King" recall Samael sans electronics and "Deep Waters" lessens the musical intensity to allow the vocals an opportunity to carry a song. "Night On Earth" wouldn't be out of place on Amorphis' "Tuonela." Even when The Black League gets symphonic on "The Everlasting - Part II" the band still manages to squeeze new life out of metal's varied forms. "Ozymandias" continues The Black League's attempts to scratch new sounds out of metal's storied past. 

Jarva's vocals only slightly recall his days with Sentenced when deathly growls ruled the day. Jarva is always over-powering, but he never upsets the music-vocal balance. 

"Ichor" was produced by Taneli Jarva and mixed by Mikko Karmila.  Everything about the production, mixing, and engineering screams 'professionalism' of the highest degree. 

The Black League is Taneli Jarva on vocals, Maike Valanne and Alexi Ranta on guitars, Florida on bass, and Sir Luttinen on drums and keyboards.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Mar 2018 16:17:35 -0500.