ISKANDR, the enigmatic heathen black metal project by creator O, returns in the autumn of the year MMXXI with their third full-length album. In two albums and two EP’s spread out between MMXVI and now, the project has seen an interesting arc of development from spacious atmospheres and regal solitude towards both a more battle hardened aggression as well as elaborate acoustic instrumentation. The new album “Vergezicht” not only delivers on what these earlier releases promised but further elevates ISKANDR into higher planes of compositional complexity.
Utilising a variety of electric and acoustic instruments – as well as a wide array of vocal techniques – the sound of ISKANDR has ventured further into realms of monumental sonic architecture. The fruitful collaboration between O’s musical direction and engineering, and M. Koop’s foundational drumming, provides a degree of clarity and forcefulness to the record that goes well beyond anything put out under the Haeresis Noviomagi banners until now. The regal triumphalism of its MMXVIII predecessor “Euprosopon” is further expanded upon, yielding six hymns chronicling stories of heroic resistance, deceit and regeneration.
Opener ‘Gezag’ gradually builds an atmosphere of mythical pastoralism before diving into a combative mid paced epic that transports the listener into a realm both imagined and real, a past without a present. ‘Bloeddraad’ solidifies the established sound of “Vergezicht” and cascades into a grand finale reminiscent of Bathory’s “Hammerheart”. Throughout the tracks ‘Gewesten der Tijd’, ‘Baken’ and ‘Verbod’, ISKANDR meanders between windswept adventurism and stoic martial registers, culminating in the splendor of ‘Verbod’s ending. Closing track ‘Het Slot’, the longest and most aggressive, while ending in a highly devotional ambiance, reaffirms this record as a terrifically ambitious undertaking.
Drawing equally from Bathory’s mid era albums, King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King”, the early works of both Enslaved and Hades, as well as Neurosis’ “A Sun that Never Sets”, “Vergezicht” signifies a crowning moment in this era of ISKANDR. Six majestic paeans to those whose banners are only illuminated by the fires of rebellion. An ode to resistance and refusal to admit defeat in the face of a great devouring chasm.
"Bloeddraad" - Official Video Clip: https://youtu.be/nrlDx1huyDk
3. Gewesten der Tijd
6. Het Slot
O: vocals · electric guitars · acoustic guitars · bass guitar · electric organ · orchestra chimes ·
choir vocals · tambourine · trumpet · piano
M. Koops: drums