Band – Iskandr
Album – Spiritus Sylvestris
Country of Origin – Netherlands
Genre – Atmospheric Rock
Release Date – September 29, 2023
Label – Eisenwald
Author – Rz
Yo, what the fuck is this? I threw this on in my truck expecting what I’ve come to love about Dutch black metal machines Iskandr, something rich with atmosphere, pounding drums, howling vocals and the occasional odd instrumentation. This my dear readers was not what I got when I listened to Spiritus Sylvestris…kind of. Care to know more? Follow me dear reader into the melancholic atmosphere of Spiritus Sylvestris!
Alright, maybe that first line made it seem like I don’t like this album, but that’s pretty far from the case. But imagine my surprise expecting what I heard on Vergezicht (https://www.moshpitnation.com/iskandr-vergezicht/) and then was greeted with a more plodding and melodic 40 Watt Sun style track. Again, I’m not complaining here cause lemme tell you something, “Knagend Zout” fucking ROCKS! It’s slow yet extremely groovy pacing mixed with the CLEAN VOCALS ONLY and the lush choir and heavy bass and drums really just sucked me in. Like within two tracks of this album I was sold on this direction. “Knagend Zout” has melodies reminiscent of The Hunter era Mastodon or any Patrick Walker project. The main little guitar lick is so damn fresh and catchy too.
So all of those aforementioned things I look for in an Iskandr album (rich atmosphere, pounding drums, howling vocals blah blah blah) are mostly here. The production here is beautiful. The vocals are super saturated with reverb and haunt all of the tracks, actually pretty beautiful and sorrowful. The guitars also sound pretty spectacular. Somewhere between droning dirges and really memorably hooks. Tracks like “Hof der Valken” feature opulent textures of clean vocals, synthesizers, and string sections to create a beautiful listening experience. That track specifically closes out with a building outro with heavy bass synthesizers and organs. Truly a wonderful work.
Now I don’t want you, dear reader, to think this album is just nonstop dirging and its only saving grace is that it’s produced really well. There are a couple tracks which are pretty upbeat, driving rock songs. My favorite has got to be the albums closer, “Nachtvorst” with its early Pink Floyd driving organ melody. The songs definitely a fucking bop. I really love songs that sound like they’d work as a pop songs too and this absolutely does. Bravo!
To sum everything up, this album isn’t what I expected at all, and goddamn does it rock. It feels like an Iskandr album that would, after listening back to Verzicht again, would naturally come next in the band’s progression. All around a great release and I’m excited for everyone else to get a chance to hear it.
Biography: Trying out new bio’s each review over here! I’m the guy in the miserable black/death band Varanak. I lift weights and cook. I love finding new music and I love recommending it to people.