Iceni - _As Carnyx Screams Consume the Silence_
(Monolith, 2007)
by: Charlotte Beskeen (9 out of 10)
It's been three years since Hrothgar set Axiom, the one man BM outfit, on its first meandering footsteps into the barren wilderness of heretical black metal. The first effort was quite promising: _Defiant Heathen Spirit_ was inconsistent, yet revealed promising glimmers of originality. Now brandishing the new banner of Iceni and four new members, the band have churned out possibly one of the most underrated British black metal releases of 2007.

In terms of technicality, there is a noticeable improvement: guitar lines remain taut as a bowstring, creating a series of barbed hooks through which driving blast beats surge. "Journeys Through Pathways Untrod" is an excellent example of this: razor sharp riffs and pummelling blast beats are executed at breakneck speed and grind to a devastating halt at 5:09, where abrasive guitars arch to form deep pockets of melancholic despair. "Defending the Homeland" is much improved from the previous effort, sounding far less tentative and far more honed and assertive. Hrothgar's vocals gain in strength second time round, leaning towards a caustic, rasping roar which complements the backing cacophony with a sheer, bristling barbarism.

When there is so little to be proud of in our politically correct, commercialised little island, this brings back the brooding, druidic days of yore with needle sharp poignancy. This is a rare find indeed, and should be treasured within the underground BM community for many, many years to come. Thank you Hrothgar.

(article published 29/5/2009)

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