IC Rex – Tulen Jamalat (2017)

This Finnish project helmed entirely by a man calling himself Artifex IC (Tunrida) features what I’d consider to be a notable blend of melodic black metal and synths with a decidedly raw feel that should sit at home with some of the kvltists (but not all). IC Rex actually has the right idea as far as the genre is concerned, and despite the pomp and heroic shouts on some of these (“Heimdall” for example) the approach seems to come off rather believable and features what I would consider to be waves of artistic fury. IC’s vocals come off absolutely scathing, as triumphant melodies seem to break through from the cold surface of his frostbitten efforts. The record seems very prominent in the world of Finnish folk, especially when “Prometheus” comes into play, so maybe I will hold my tongue on the “kvltist friendly” statement that I made earlier. While there are definitely more than few tracks that embody this image, I see that further in the listen things have changed quite a bit.

Even bombastic and unexpected guitar solos have their moments, which might not be black metal (though I could never see why not) but are most certainly a major part of heavy metal as a whole. IC Rex has more or less balanced the raw fury of melodic black metal with Valhallic grandeur, creating a record that not only brings off a bitter chill, but the warmth of Odin’s great halls. Even throughout his frantic and rather horrendous scowls, the record doesn’t seem to come off all that bleak, which I find rather pleasant. This definitely seems to play along the lines of Burzum, but can also be compared to acts like Cosmic Church, Arvet and Saturnian Mist who are all other Finnish metal acts.

Considering all of this, I can only say that IC Rex has created a black metal record quite like many that you would find in Finland and despite the fact that this “folk/black with synths and hefty guitar solo” style might be fairly common there, it is not here and that is why it feels so unique. It’s not just metal, it’s world music – the very sound of Finland heard through a black metal lens.

(8 Tracks, 47:00)

8/10

https://saturnalrecs.bandcamp.com/album/tulen-jumalat

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