With only two songs, Sojourn, the rehearsal demo from New Jersey's Immolith leaves me wanting much more. But calling this a pure rehearsal demo is, well, somewhat confusing because I don't believe this is a "Rehearsal" demo at all. Sure, the production does sound like a rehearsal - the drums are raw, with a natural feel, triggerless and very blackened, the guitars are muffled and laden in fuzz and doom, but using the H2 Hand held recorder, it would be very difficult to record the vocals on this recording. In first track, you can hear, very clearly on headphones, that the vocals alternate between left and right hard pans, as if going around your head in symmetrical sweeps. With vocals most likely being sourced into a PA of some sort and being played through stationary speakers, this panning ability would have to be produced in some sort of either post production phase or with calculated takes using the H2 panning features. Also, with Immolith (guitars / vocals), Warhead (drums, also in stalwart black metallers Abazagorath), and Ahazu (bass) playing the songs, I would wager that unless either one of them is an octopus cross bred human-squid creature, pressing the buttons on the actual recording device would be nigh impossible. Maybe they had someone at the rehearsal also turning the microphone however with no noticeable changes in the dynamics of the drums or guitar, I wouldn't count on that either. Either way, I wouldn't call this a true rehearsal recording and more likely some combination of the two.
With that out of the way, I have to admit that I like the direction the band is taking with the one original track presented. A mixture of Venom, Bathory and, to my ears a fair bit of Candlemass as well - in the slower sections - "Ghost Tower of Inverness" presents memorable melodies, interesting ideas and showcases a true devotion to playing black metal in the style of the originators and not in the style of today's crop of super fast, psuedo-evil black metal upstarts. Though this opening track is a rather simple brooding, chest thumping dirge-like soaker, the lack of that necessary "brick" of heaviness that a mid tempo song needs to really crush,holds it down just slightly. A more distorted bass or overdubbed vocals would add some mass to the recording but this is still an enjoyable track. If you want to enjoy it you will, if you're not paying much attention and it is playing in the background it will most likely pass you by unnoticed. Second track is a cover of Venom's Countess Bathory which, while holding its own in a pillow fight with the myriad modern punk bands, would be crushed under the weight of the original. Still enjoyable and still one of the better Venom covers I have heard simply because Immolith is naturally playing the same style.
With a four song EP in the works for the summer, this is a band to keep an eye on, especially if they could lose some of the stereotypical modern black metal elements and retain the Venom and Doom influenced sound that really grabs my attention.
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